Connecticut Garden Journal: Winterizing Roses | Connecticut Public Radio
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Connecticut Garden Journal: Winterizing Roses

Nov 14, 2019

November is for wrapping up the garden and protecting plants from winter. One plant that often needs protection are roses.

There are many different types of roses, and it's sometimes hard to know which ones to protect. For species roses, such as Rosa Rugosa and Rosa Gallica, you don't need to protect them. These tough roses often make it through unscathed, and if there is some dieback, they quickly outgrow it in spring. The same is true for some modern roses such as the Knockout and Canadian Explorer series.

But the hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda roses are a different story. These grafted roses are tender and need some help surviving the cold. The simplest solution is to cover them with bark mulch. Wait until we’ve had a few hard freezes then pile a 1 foot deep mound of mulch over each rose bush. By then mice and voles will have found other winter quarters. It’s okay if a few canes are sticking out the top. You’ll prune off any winter damaged wood in spring once the roses start growing again.

You can also drive four stakes around the plants and wrap burlap around the stakes to block the cold winter winds. It's these winds that often dry out the canes.

For tender climbing roses, such as New Dawn, cover them will burlap. Climbing roses produce the most flowers from side shoots that emerge off the main canes. Cut roses back to a manageable size and cut the side shoots back to 1 to 2 feet long. Then wrap burlap around the whole plant to protect it.