The Q&A Archives: winter protection for roses

Question: What is the best winter protection for my roses? I live in Pittsburgh, PA and some winters are very hard on my roses.

Answer: The best way to protect your shrub roses during the winter depends on how low the temperatures drop in your region and the amount of snow cover. Shrub roses can withstand temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees without protection. If your temperatures drop lower and there is no snow cover to provide insulation, the plants could be damaged. As a safety precaution, you could mulch the base of your plants after the ground freezes with about 1 foot of bark chips or stray or hay. This will provide maximum root protection. If the canes are in a location where they are subject to snow falling or other mechanical damage, you could wrap burlap around the periphery of the hedge and fill the spaces around your plants with leaves (avoid maple) or straw or pine boughs. Tie the burlap together above the bushes to form a protective enclosure. When it comes to roses, I'm an advocate of tender loving care!

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