How to Protect Rose Bushes in the Winter
Rose bushes are dormant during the winter and need protection from the cold, snow and ice that may occur depending upon where you live. Planting cultivars that are winter hardy in your area can help increase the bushes' chances of survival. Wait until after the first frost to employ winter protection measures and remove the protection in early spring after the last frost has passed.
Preparation Before Winter
Discontinue feeding the rosebush after August 15th. Feeding it promotes growth, and the rosebush needs to begin going dormant. Water less often starting in September but still water up until the first frost. Before October, remove any rose blooms, damaged or diseased canes and foliage. Shorten long canes that may blow around in the wind or break because of snow or frost. Remove debris to ward off diseases. For rosebushes that had insect issues in the summer, spray the canes and the soil with a dormant oil spray once the rosebush is dormant.
Pile soil and compost mixed together 12 inches high and 12 inches wide around the rose bush avoiding the soil already around the roses for that is needed to keep the roots warm. When the soil mound freezes, lay a 12-inch layer of evergreen branches or mulch over the soil mound.
Tie the canes of the roses together with twine. Set a 12 to 18-inch high chicken wire or plastic sheeting around the rose bush to form a collar. Fill the collar with soil and mulch. Place a piece of burlap over the top part of the collar tying with twine to prevent the mulch from blowing away.
Tie the rose canes together. Wrap burlap around the entire rose bush twice, beginning from the top and working your way down and then back to the top. Tie twine around the top, middle and bottom to hold the burlap in place. Pile up soil around the bottom of the wrapped rose bush 6 to 8 inches high.