Now’s the time to start win­ter­iz­ing your roses!

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - HOME - by JR Pandy, Pandy’s Gar­den Cen­ter

Noth­ing is more sat­is­fy­ing then head­ing out to your land­scape and snip­ping a beau­ti­ful long stem rose from your very own plant grow­ing in your yard.

As days shorten, nights grow longer and tem­per­a­tures be­gin to get colder, now is the time to start the win­ter­iz­ing process for your roses. Some roses like ru­gosa roses are tough as nails and need noth­ing done.

Hy­brid tea, gran­di­flora, minia­ture and flori­bunda roses need some ex­tra pro­tec­tion for up­com­ing win­ter months. Now is the time to stop fer­til­iz­ing and dead head­ing your rose bushes. With a hard killing frost com­ing in the next 2-4 weeks, roses need time to build up en­ergy to carry them through the win­ter. Rose hips should be al­lowed to form and re­main on the plant un­til a heavy freeze oc­curs.

Once a good killing freeze hap­pens, it’s time to hill up your roses. Hilling means to cover up the base 12-16” tall around and over the base of your rose bush. I like to use top­soil or mulch. Some will tell you to use leaves or cheap sty­ro­foam cov­ers called rose cones. These two items are not as af­fec­tive and I do not rec­om­mend ei­ther. I do, how­ever, like Warp’s brand rose col­lars. These col­lars cre­ate a well around your rose bush which makes it easy to hill up your roses. Hilling roses ac­tu­ally helps keep the grafts pro­tected and avoids the con­stant freeze/thaw cy­cle which ul­ti­mately kills the rose.

Trim your roses down to 12-18” tall and dis­card branches first be­fore hilling up plants. Any leaves should be cleaned up as they can har­bor disease over the win­ter. A fresh clean area sur­round­ing the rose bush will help start the spring grow­ing sea­son healthy and strong. Again, wait till a freeze oc­curs to do this.

Climb­ing roses re­quire a lit­tle more care. Ohio State rec­om­mends re­mov­ing long canes from trel­lis or ar­bors and lay­ing them down on the ground. Cover with soil or mulch. If this is im­prac­ti­cal, gather canes to­gether and spray with Bonide brand wilt stop. These anti-des­ic­cant sprays help seal mois­ture in canes and avoid win­ter burn. For added pro­tec­tion, wrap canes with burlap. This will help with tran­spi­ra­tion over win­ter as well. Bonide’s wilt stop is ben­e­fi­cial for all rose bushes. It’s an­other layer of pro­tec­tion over the win­ter ....

Knock­out roses are tough plants. Typ­i­cally, they can be left alone, but af­ter some of the nasty cold win­ters we have had, i would use the hilling process as well on them. An ounce of preven­tion is worth a pound of cure. Noth­ing is more frus­trat­ing then hav­ing to re­plant year af­ter year.

In mid to late march, pull back the soil or mulch used to cover roses and spread around. Re­move the mound un­til soil level is re­turned to orig­i­nal height you started at.

This lit­tle bit of work now will re­ward your­selves come next spring when your roses be­gin to flour­ish. Start fer­til­iz­ing with Espoma’s rose tone fer­til­izer and use Bayer’s 3 in 1 rose in­sect and disease con­trol. Your roses will burst with new blooms. Try adding mag­ne­sium sul­phate ,(ep­som salts) In the spring to your roses. True rose en­thu­si­asts say it makes blooms big­ger and scents more boun­ti­ful.

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