Ready for winter - Knowledgebase Question

Chagrin Falls, Oh
Question by hptackova
October 25, 2010
Hello, would you, please, tell me, what to do with Knock Out and climbing roses before cold weather start (Ohio, Clevelad), I'm a beginner. How much should I cut them, how to cover them, put some chemicals on? Thank you, Hana


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Answer from NGA
October 25, 2010

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After several killing freezes in late fall, plants become dormant; this is the time to protect your roses from winter?s extremes. Remove debris, such as leaves and dead stems on and around the plants to prevent diseases from overwintering.

Prepare the roses by tying the canes up with twine, not only to prevent excessive wind whipping but also to make mounding easier as well. Begin by tying twine to a lower branch base, and wind the twine up the plant in a spiral fashion. If possible, save pruning chores until late winter or early spring. Branches cut in fall tend to die back from the cut through winter weather.

The most foolproof method of protection is to mound soil around the plant to protect the graft union. A 12-inch-high mound--approximately 5 gallons--of soil provides excellent protection. Dig the soil for the mound from an area away from the roses, so as not to damage their roots. For further protection, pile additional mulch, such as straw or chopped leaves, on top of the soil mound.

A modified version of total coverage include the use of chicken wire cylinders or roofing paper filled with leaves. The key of all of these open-end approaches is that, in each case, the base of the rose is protected by a mound of soil.

In early spring, the soil mounds and straw/leaves, etc. must be removed as soon as plants begin new growth. Don't forget to remove the twine, and be careful not to injure old canes or new shoot growth.

Do your pruning in the spring, just as new growth begins. Best wishes with your roses!

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