Roses forum: Best mulch before winter?

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Name: B C
NY (Zone 5b)
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BrendanCS
Oct 2, 2020 9:48 AM CST
Does anyone have good recommendations for the best mulch to put on new (this past spring) rose beds before winter? I'm in zone 5B and have a local place that sells 3 kind of mulch in bulk:

Black Mulch: Wood chips and grindings. The colorant is water-based instead of the more harmful solvent-based coatings used in other industries, as well as low VOC (volatile organic content). Colorant is safe for use around your yard and home and is safe for your pets and kids to play around.

Brown Mulch: 100% bark, mostly hardwood, ground and broken down

and

Sweet Peet Mulch: 100% organic dark mulch mixed with manure and soil conditioner. Transforms to humus as it ages. Martha Stewart's favorite!

These are their website descriptions. I used the brown mulch over the course of spring/summer and it's pretty level with the beds I built now...but I want to make sure I prep the roses right before winter. Could also try to find other kinds of mulches if you think there are better types.

I have a lot of organic alfalfa pellets that I got on bulk sale from my farm store....can those be used as mulch or just tea? I can also get giant bags of coffee grounds from my coffee place. I used those throughout the season on my other compost/mulch. Not sure that's a good idea for winter though.

A representative from David Austin emailed me this about mulching on top of the actual bushes....seems like I might cause rot that way? But maybe that's how to winter protect? I planted all of these a good 6 inches or slightly more underground when planting.

"I do suggest mulching a few inches around the base of the plant and a few inches up into the bottom canes. This helps protect the grafted area and helps with any wind rock from winter storms. If you are expecting a strong winter storm you can wrap in burlap and possibly mulch a bit more but snow is an excellent insulator. I would keep watering the roses until they go dormant. You may need to water roughly once a month if it has been dry during the winter"


Thanks for any tips!

[Last edited by BrendanCS - Oct 2, 2020 9:50 AM (+)]
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Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
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seilMI
Oct 2, 2020 3:21 PM CST
Either the brown or the sweet peet seem best to me. They will both slowly break down and enrich the soil Good soil makes good roses!

Alfalfa pellets can be toss around on the ground but they take much longer to dissolve and feed the soil than the tea does But maybe over the winter would be a good time to let that happen.

Since you've buried the grafts you only need to mulch up maybe 6 or 8 inches. Even then sometimes mulch can cause canker on the canes because it holds a lot of moisture against them. It's a tough call. You take a chance of winter kill or canker. Take your pick.

If you have a VERY dry winter it is advisable to water if you can. Dehydration and desiccation are some of the main causes of winter kill. Sometimes more than the cold.
Name: B C
NY (Zone 5b)
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BrendanCS
Oct 2, 2020 4:16 PM CST
Thanks so much seil, appreciate it. If I get the brown or sweet peet mulch, just pile an 8 inch pile over the whole bed and let it cover whatever it covers? Would you water the mulch in after making an 8 inch pile around each, or just wait for rain/snow to do that?
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
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seilMI
Oct 2, 2020 8:54 PM CST
Water well before you apply the mulch and then only water if it is very dry right up to ground freeze. After that if you don't get any rain or snow you should water some maybe once a month through winter. But we usually get plenty of precipitation over the winter so it shouldn't be a problem.
Name: B C
NY (Zone 5b)
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BrendanCS
Oct 3, 2020 4:34 AM CST
Seil, thanks again. Sounds like a good plan, I'll order some yards of mulch and try to protect them this first winter. Hopefully some survive. Was great to finally try roses after so many years of hearing how difficult they are as plants
Falls Church, VA
Irises Region: Mid-Atlantic Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator
Bookworm Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hellebores Peonies Roses
tantefrancine
Oct 3, 2020 1:48 PM CST
I would check how Winter hardy your roses are. Usually they in the description, some are hardier than others. Then just do what they suggest, Lots of my roses were killed when it got very warm in very early Spring, and then it got very cold later in Spring. I was not prepared, the plants are already getting new leaves and when it froze again for weeks, lots of them did not make it.
Falls Church, VA
Irises Region: Mid-Atlantic Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator
Bookworm Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hellebores Peonies Roses
tantefrancine
Oct 3, 2020 1:51 PM CST
I forgot: I like larger natural (not colored) pine bark.
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
Image
seilMI
Oct 3, 2020 4:07 PM CST
Roses are no different than any other perennials. They require the right amount of sunlight, good soil, water and a pruning once a year. Just like hydrangeas, peonies, lilacs, and other flowering shrubs. If you throw a little fertilizer their way once in a while that's a bonus. If you grow other perennials you can grow roses.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Oct 13, 2020 11:44 PM CST
tantefrancine said:I would check how Winter hardy your roses are. Usually they in the description, some are hardier than others. Then just do what they suggest, Lots of my roses were killed when it got very warm in very early Spring, and then it got very cold later in Spring. I was not prepared, the plants are already getting new leaves and when it froze again for weeks, lots of them did not make it.

What Tante said should be taken to heart.
I have lost most roses due to warm spring, the roses are uncovered and then a hard freeze.
They may die quickly or slowly go away but they die.

Up here I have to totally cover my roses, or bury them, but they should be de-leafed and doused, heavily , with bio-fungicide, if you are going to cover them.
Failure to do that, well enough, cost me a large tough rose recently.
It depends on what type roses you have, mine are mostly Hybrid Tea, I have three bush roses I simply cover the ground with leaves but as they are on the South side of the garage, it is far warmer there
Name: B C
NY (Zone 5b)
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BrendanCS
Oct 14, 2020 6:33 AM CST
Thanks for all of the tips everyone. Appreciate it. Will be interesting to see what makes it here after winter.

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