The Q&A Archives: Rose bushes

Question: I bought a house in Southern IL this past summer. It had a bed of beautiful (not so pretty right now)rose bushes. Mini roses if you will. I don't even know their names or anything. I would like them to bloom again in the spring (if that is correct). Please advise what I need to do to them now and when the weather starts to warm again. In other words, I'm willing to learn how to care and nurture them, but need some

Answer: Without knowing what type of rose they are, it is a bit difficult to give specific advice. If the flowers were somewhat small and grew in clusters, then you may well have a landscape rose. Most of these do fine with a thick mulch over the root area applied in late fall (use four to six inches of organic mulch spread out in a flat layer over the root area) and then need a spring trim to remove winter damaged canes. This may mean cutting them to the ground if there is severe damage, but usually you would trim off about two thirds of the height and restore a symmetrical outline to the bushes.

But if you have hybrid tea roses, with the large traditional blooms on very long stems, you may need to do more to protect them during winter. This would include mulching plus heaping a pile of soil over the base of the canes to insulate them, then possibly also covering with a rose cone or similar wrapping to further protect them. This is then gradually removed in early spring, and the canes are pruned back quite hard.

On the other hand, if you have old fashioned shrub roses such as rugosas, you would simply mulch over the roots this fall, and then wait to prune until after they bloom in late spring/early summer.

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