The Q&A Archives: How do I prepare roses for winter in ND

Question: how should I prepare roses for the harsh winters in ND

Answer: Be sure your roses have sufficient moisture to carry them through the winter. If the fall has been dry, soak them in late October. In early November, shorten the stems to about 18 inches. Then mount each plant 6 to 8 inches high with soil, shavings, vermiculite or sand. Next, place 10-12 inches of leaves or coarse hay on top. Use tree branches or chicken wire to keep leaves in place as well as to hold snow.

Leave the mound intact until mid-April when you take it off in stages. If you have only a few rose bushes, it may be easier to collect dry leaves in large plastic garbage bags. Store the bagged leaves until about the first of November, then merely mulch your roses by carefully placing the closed leaf-filled garbage bags tightly against each bush for mulch. Two bags will adequately protect each rose. In the spring the bagged leaves may be used for compost. When the mounds or bagged leaves are finally removed in the spring, finish pruning by removing all dead wood (dark and discolored) as well as injured or small, weak stems. Your roses should then be ready for another season.

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