WInter Protection of Large Roses - Knowledgebase Question

Oshkosh, WI
Avatar for rjmiller
Question by rjmiller
December 9, 1997
We live in the zone 4 area and would like to know how to protect our roses (5' tall). I had been advised to cover with burlap and to mound the base of the tree with about l2" of soil. Am I on the right track?

Lauralee E. Miller

Answer from NGA
December 9, 1997
According to the book "Roses for Dummies" (no offense meant!) by Lance Walheim, you are close! But much depends on what type of rose you're working with. It sounds like you have tree roses, which benefit from winter burial in cold climates. The best time to do this is when nights start to get consistently frosty. Dig a trench next to the tree, loosen the rose's roots on the side opposite the trench, and lean the whole tree into the trench. Secure it to the ground with stakes and heap the soil over the whole plant. After the ground freezes hard, cover the soil with straw mulch. Gradually remove the mulch and soil as temperatures warm in the spring, and bring the tree back upright.

For any rose, nitrogen based fertilizers should bewithheld approximately 6 wks. before expected frost dates, but continue to water throughout the fall. Allow September blooms to stay on the plants to form "hips". Clean up all dead leaves and spent flowers from the bed, since they can harbor disease. The canes of climbers and ramblers can be wrapped in burlap and secured to their support for extra protection against dessicating winds and heavy snowfall (and in your zone I probably would take that extra step).

If you're interested in learning more about "Roses for Dummies" and other gardening titles, check out the NGA website (URL below). Hope this info helps!

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