The Q&A Archives: Winterizing Roses

Question: What is the best winter preparation for roses?

Answer: It does depend somewhat on what type of roses you have. No matter what type of roses you have, nitrogen based fertilizers should be withheld approximately 6 wks. before expected frost dates. Allow September blooms to stay on the plants to form "hips". Clean up all dead leaves and spent flowers from the bed and strip away any foliage remaining on the canes. Shortly before you expect your first hard freeze give the roses a thorough watering. Next, wait for two killing frosts, this generally has occurred by Thanksgiving. After those frosts cut canes down to approximately 15" in height. If you have climbers or ramblers DO NOT cut back the canes. Finally, form a mound of soil or mulch (Cypress works well) at least 12" high over the bud union of each bush (including your climbers/ramblers).

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