Whether your rose is a newly planted hybrid or a family heirloom, a night in the cold can hinder growth and even kill the plant. Even though roses enter dormancy during winter, they need shelter too. For the best results, cultivate cold-hardy, rose plants adapted for local hardiness zones; however, even these cultivars need covering on extremely cold evenings. When temperatures threaten to drop to 15F or lower, blanket the plants to shield the root ball and canes from freezing.
Prune tall rose bushes back about a third — this makes them easier to protect at the end of the blooming season. Do not over prune; clip the tops only. Tie the limbs together loosely with twine, keeping the canes facing upwards.
Fertilize the plant with rose food after the blooming season is complete. Monitor the plant for the next few weeks, pruning away any new shoots that appear.
Rake away spent blooms, leaves and debris from around the plant’s base. Pests like hiding under rose bushes during cold weather.
Pile potting soil around the base of the rose plant. A height of 10 inches keeps the roots warm. Use fresh soil for creating the hill, not soil from the rose garden. Wait for the hill soil to freeze. Pile up pine straw, evergreen branches or leaves on top of the frozen hill and the lower parts of the rose plant. Do not bend or break the canes.
Remove climbing roses carefully from their trellis. Avoid bruising and breaking the stems. Fold the vines down to the ground, then create the soil hill at the base. Do not cover the ends of the vines. Once the soil freezes, cover the rose plant with straw, leaves or evergreen branches. Another method for covering climbing roses is to pack the dormant plant with pine straw, then wrap it in burlap.
Protect the rose plant from extreme temperatures by winding it snugly with burlap. Secure the burlap in place with twine, tying at the top and bottom of the plant.
Arrange a 18-inch collar of chicken wire around the rose plant. Fill the collar with pine straw for a natural covering. Use this method in place of the burlap if you anticipate long periods of extreme cold.
Here’s a tip: Keep roses free from pests to promote cold weather hardiness.
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