The Q&A Archives: shrub rose winter care

Question: I received a Blushing Knockout Rose Shrub (Radyod) for a gift in early June, 2005. I live in Michigan. The shrub grew and was beautiful all summer. How do I care for it with the severe winter coming? Should I trim it; should I cover it with a styrofoam cone?
Thank you.

Answer: Shrub roses are treated differently from the hybrid teas you may be thinking of. The shrub roses are about the easiest rose to care for. They are generally pruned in early spring to remove any branches that have been winter damaged or killed and then possibly a light shearing for size control. They never need to be cut back hard unless it is to remove winter damage. To help them bloom to their full potential you can also "deadhead" or remove spent flowers. Blushing Knockout Rose is among the hardiest of roses (rated to 40 below zero F). The best winter protection you can give it is to mound soil up over the center crown to protect it from freezing and thawing repeatedly and against super cold temperatures so that not all of the shrub above ground will be winter killed. Do this in late fall when the plant is dormant, probably sometime in November, but before the ground is so frozen you can't dig up soil to make the mound.

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