The Q&A Archives: roses

Question: I planted a rose garden in the spring. Do you have to cut them bakin the fall? How do i prepare them for the winter?

Answer: You can help your roses survive the winter months by keeping them healthy all summer long and allowing the last of the flowers to develop into rose hips. This, along with cooler temperatures will signal your plant that it's time to slow its growth and get ready for a winter's nap.

Hybrid Teas, grandifloras and floribundas should be protected from winter damage after a killing frost but before the soil freezes. In your region, that would be late November or early December. Reduce breakage of tall canes by winter winds by cutting them back to 30 to 36 inches and tying tips together. Remove dead and fallen leaves around the plants. Hill soil over the center of the plants in broad rounded mounds at least 12 inches high and 12 inches wide. Cover the soil mounds with a mulch of leaves, straw, boughs, or some similiar material.

Another method includes using all mulch, such as wood chips, sawdust, shredded hardwood, or pine bark, instead of soil, mounded to 15 to 18 inches. Some gardeners prefer to construct wire mesh cylinders to surround each plant, which they fill with mulch. Still others use rose cones, baskets with bottoms cut out or burlap to wrap the plants.

Whichever method you use, your roses should come through with flying colors.

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