Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Getting your roses ready for winter.

Mid-November is the right time to get your roses ready for winter. Most of the winter damage to roses and perennials comes from temperature fluctuations, dry winds and lack of moisture. It's not uncommon for the winter daytime temperatures to be surprisingly warm, followed by very cold nights.
Freezing night time temperatures followed by thawing out during the day can affect the soil around your roses and cause root and graft damage. There are three things to do now. First, make sure your roses are well hydrated, so give them a good drink of water. Plants with dry roots suffer more in cold temperatures than plants with wet roots. While you're at it, water your trees and shrubs as well.
Second, prune back canes to about 24".
Save any major pruning until spring.
Remove any spent flowers
and rose hips. Remove any obviously diseased leaves. Clean up any leaves and debris to prevent diseases from wintering over at the base of the rose, before you add mulch. 
Third, add 8" to 10" of mulch your roses to keep the ground cold and stable. Adding mulch at this time helps stabilize the soil temperature and prevent damage due to the freeze/thaw cycle. Mulching also helps prevent moisture loss. Roses that have been watered well and then mulched stand a better chance of surviving the winter than roses with dry roots. Choose mulch that will stay in place through the winter. Cedar mulch and Gorilla Hair mulch are two good choices. They will stay put without matting down.
Rose collars can also be used to help keep mulch in place.
Place the rose collar around the rose, fasten it and fill with mulch. For climbing roses, follow the same procedure; clean up around the base of the rose, water well and mulch. Don't prune climbers at this time. You can secure the canes to their trellis or bundle the canes together and wrap them with burlap for protection.
You can spray with an anti-desiccant such as Wilt-Pruf to help canes from drying out. Remember to water your roses during the winter. Pick a nice day when the temperature is above 45° and water your roses, trees and perennials.

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