The Q&A Archives: i bought a house recently, and the rose came with it....

Question: we bought our house in Nov of 2004, and the rose bush was cold, and then covered with snow-i live in upstate ny-and my question is how do i get it to thrive, all the while knowing i've never grown roses at you think it can be saved and how do i tell if so?

Answer: There are some roses that would survive a winter with little or no protection in your zone(5A) and others that would not. So it really depends on what type of rose it is. Maybe a gardening neighbor will be able to tell you if it was a grafted hybrid tea rose (chances not too good) or a hardy shrub rose such as a rugosa (odds are excellent for survival). In the meantime, you can trim off any winter damaged canes starting at the top of the plant and working your way down. These will be discolored, dull brown or gray, and dried out and brittle. Live wood will have green under the bark and plump buds. As spring advances you should see new growth on the plant in the form of buds swelling along the canes and new foliage emerging. Much ado is made about pruning but without knowing what kind of rose it is I can't tell you specifically how to prune it beyond removing dead wood -- and for many roses this is sufficient for early spring care. If it is alive you can also give it a spring top dressing of good quality compost and some fertilizer, use a slow release or granular form of complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or similar analysis per the label instructions. You might also want to look at a book or two about rose care, one I really like because it it is full of straightforward practical advice is Roses for Dummies, it is in many bookstores and libraries. Enjoy!

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