Tuesday, 11 November 2014

How to Prepare Roses for Winter

How you prepare roses for winter depends to some extent on what kind of roses you're growing. The “bush” type rose might be a shrub rose, while the one that's more upright could be a hybrid tea, floribunda or even a rugosa rose. Many shrub roses and rugosa roses are extremely cold hardy and do not require additional protection whatsoever, while some hybrid tea roses could be severely damaged and require some effort to get them through cold winters unscathed.

The following simple how-to steps are recommended for Canadian gardeners who notice a long, very cold winter season, however the advice is useful for any rose gardener wanting to raise healthy roses under similar conditions.

Watering Your Roses

Roses crave sunlight and generous helpings of food and water. In most climates, provide a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day. If you live in a very hot climate, plant them where they're shaded from the hot afternoon sun. When watering, water in the base of the plant, and provide about an inch of water per week. Using a soaker hose is ideal for roses since it delivers water directly to the roots and keeps the leaves dry. It is also best to water in the morning, therefore if the leaves do get wet they're going to have plenty of time to dry.

Container Roses

When temperatures drop below freezing, move container roses into an unheated garage or outbuilding before the weather warms up again early in the year. Check them occasionally throughout the winter to make sure the soil within the container doesn't completely dry out, but don't give them any fertilizer. Another way is to sink the plant, container and all sorts of, into the ground outdoors. Surround the exposed area of the plant with a collar or cage and grow it with straw or leaves.

Bend, Hill and Cover

Bend the bushes in an arch, very gently and thoroughly to avoid breaking the canes in the roots. Pin or tie on the branches with wire loops or stakes. Don’t attempt to bend short bushes. Create a mound of soil round the base of the bush to a height of approximately 9-12 inches. Cover the bushes about 2 feet of leaves or flax straw, locked in place by fencing or chicken wire round the entire bed. Be sure the leaf cover extends out a minimum of 1 to 2 feet from the center of the bushes. Water leaves well. Early in the year, remove layers of leaves because they thaw.

Hill and Cover

Create a mound of soil in the base of each bush to some height of about 9-12 inches. You can utilize a wire cylinder to carry the soil in place. Very tall canes, which may whip too much in strong winds, might be cut back. Cover entire bed about 2 feet of leaves or flax straw, locked in place by wire or plastic fencing. Water. Early in the year, gradually remove the leaf cover because the layers thaw. Then gently wash the soil from the bushes in stages. Remove any excess soil which was used to mound in the fall.

Rose Collars

You can buy rose collars from our garden store. Put the collar around the bush and tightly seal the foot of the cone with soil. Pile leaves you have saved into the collar to safeguard the crown and roots. Don't do this, however, until the first hard frost. Should you choose this prior to the first hard frost, there's more chance that insects will infest the guarana plant or that mice will nest there. Following the first hard frost odds are those animals will have made their house somewhere else.

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