Preparing Roses for Winter

Before the ground freezes in your lawn and garden, you can "winterize" your roses by insulating them with soil and mulch. Typically, mid November is a good time to do this. It's worth noting that shrub roses, grandiflora, and multiflora roses are generally hardier and better able to survive climate extremes than hybrid tea roses.

Soil and Mulch Provide a "Blanket" for Roses

Surround each rose bush with several inches of good quality soil. Next, add 12 to 14 inches of mulch. You can use commercially packaged mulch, or mulch fallen leaves and twigs from your lawn and garden. Mulch provides better insulation than straw, and helps to stabilize ground temperatures so your roses won't suffer the stress of freezing and thawing throughout the winter.After you've mounded the soil and mulch around your roses, trim the bushes back to the level of its mulch mound. If you have climbing roses, they'll need to be winterized in a different way.

Climbing Roses: Bring them Down to Earth

Climbing roses should have their branches secured to the ground. The branches can then be covered with soil and mulch, or you can let nature take its course and cover the branches with snow. Strange as it may seem, a blanket of snow can provide a layer of insulation.  If your climbing roses are very tall, you can trim the branches back to a manageable length. Another alternative is to prune your climbers to remove dead branches and blooms, and cover the base of each plant as described above. This may not be feasible for very large climbers, but these plants have survived many winters and have adjusted to severe weather.

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