The Q&A Archives: Premature Spring Rose Growth

Question: We have had a rather unusual winter here in New Jersey. We have a few cold days followed by a week or more of 50 - 60 degree weather then back to 20 degrees for a few days then up to 50. The warm weather has caused my roses (and bulbs) to begin growing. I have tiny leaves on my roses and its only the middle of February! I am worried that the cold spells will hurt my plants. (Its actually snowing today.) My roses are only a year old. How can I protect them?
Also, will cold weather affect my bulb (tulips, daffodils and crocuses) which have sprouted?

Answer: There is not much we can do to control the weather, so gardeners often bite their nails through the wild swings of early spring! Try not to worry. There is really nothing we can do now to protect them and in fact most plants handle it quite well despite our worries. You may see that a truly severe cold blast kills back the new foliage on the roses (although it is surprisingly cold tolerant!), and later this spring when the weather settles you may find some tip damage that needs to be pruned off.

Bulbs seem to be particularly well prepared for this type of weather. You may see some tip browning or scorching foliage from the cold but in general they should be fine.

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