Monday, November 28, 2016

Time to put the roses to bed

The prolonged fall has given us a few extra weeks to enjoy some of the hardier plants in our garden including roses, mums and winter pansies. Now's the time to put your roses to bed, finish cleaning up the perennial beds and water everything well.
To prune your roses, you'll need a good pair of pruners, some garden shears and a lopper. These tools will make it easier to prepare your roses for winter's irratic weather. 
Most seasonal damage to roses, as well as trees, shrubs and perennials, comes from winter's fluctuating temperatures, dry winds and lack of moisture.
You can help reduce winter wind damage by pruning your roses back to about 24". Check your roses for dead and diseased canes and for diseases on leaves such as powdery mildew. 
If you see any diseased branches and leaves, cut them off and dispose of them. While you're at it, rake up any leaves on the ground around your roses.  Don’t let them winter over in the mulch and re-infect your roses next spring. Next, water your roses.  Roses with dry roots will suffer more damage in cold temperatures than roses with well-hydrated roots. 
Last, add 8"  to 10" of mulch around the base of your roses. This mulch will help keep the ground cold and stable during those warm winter days. Mulch will also help retain moisture. Compost, Cedar Mulch and Gorilla Hair mulch are good choices for mulching your roses.
Rose collars help hold the mulch in place through the winter.
While you're at it, finish cleaning up any perennials still standing.
We left these mums to the last minute because we had pollinators  in the garden up until a few days ago. They look scraggly, but provide some forage. Water all of your perennials once you've finished cleaning them up. If you feel like planting something when you're done with clean up, it's not to late to plant some spring bulbs and some garlic.

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