If you have a rose garden, it can get kind of worrisome when the weather starts to get colder. If not prepared for the cool season, your roses can be seriously harmed come Spring. And who wants to start growing roses again from seeds? No one! This winter, here are 8 tips and tricks that will get your roses ready for the winter season.
Tip #1: Remove Old Blooms
Naturally, when the first freeze finally hits, it’s best if you take some time to remove and prune any old blossoms. Typically, I prune my roses by the end of August..but this is totally up to you and your grow zone. Some gardeners may not have to prune until late September!
Tip #2: Time to Fertilize
After your bushes have been pruned, I usually like to give my bushes a little something to keep them healthy until warmer weather. Around the first week of September (or October, if you pruned late..) give each rose bush 2-3 tablespoons of Super Phosphate. Even a few tablespoons can help keep your roses healthy until Spring.
Tip #3: Prune Again When Winter Hits
Seriously! You may think that you don’t need to worry about pruning again until Spring, but it’s actually beneficial to prune them come winter as well. Once your roses have bit hit with a hard freeze or two, prune them down to about HALF their usual height. This helps branches stay strong (and break-free) when the heavy snow hits.
Tip #4: Mulch Up!
You’ve heard about the super power of mulch when it comes to protecting plants in the winter….and mulch is a great protectant of roses. Before the first snow, make sure that your roses have been properly mulched or mounded. Check out exactly how to do it here.
Tip #5: Always Water!
Even in the winter time, it’s important that your rose bushes are getting an adequate amount of water. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean they won’t get thirsty! On the warmer days of winter, test the soil with your finger, and water if necessary. You won’t want to “soak” your rose bush. A light watering will be plenty.
Tip #6: Use Epsom Salt
On the particularly rough days of winter, you may notice “ice caps” forming around your rose bushes. Ice caps are deadly because they can freeze the water in the roots, and basically dehydrate your plant. If you’re dealing with ice caps, I usually sprinkle Epsom Salts on the ice, and it melts, creating holes for the water to travel to the roots.
Tip #7: Growing In Zones 9+
If you reside in grow zone 9 (or above) you’ll find that your roses aren’t subject to freezing temperatures. Prune plants at the end of December, and fertilize lightly come November. Roses in these areas are more subject to fungal diseases, so be sure to keep an eye out!
Tip #8: Remove Mulch
It might be hard to remember, so make a note on your gardening calendar. After the last frost of early Spring, remember to remove the protective layer of mulch from your plant’s roots. Melting snow come Spring can seep into the mulch and cause rot among other diseases .