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Winterizing Rose Bushes

Updated on May 1, 2017

Rose Bushes Need Specail Care For The Winter Months

So do you know how to winterize your rose bushes? Winterizing a rose bush the right way can insure that the bush will make it through the winter, and provide you a healthy rose bush in the spring. Winterizing your rose bushes is very important to promote yearly blooming. If you follow a few simple steps to keep your rose bushes safe from winter weather you will enjoy bushes that give you tons of wonderful blooms throughout the summer, and into Fall.

If you are lucky enough to live in a gardening zone that does not experience harsh winter weather, you do not have to worry about winterizing your rose bushes. However, if you live in an area where there is cold temperatures, and snow, you need to winterize your roses. With the exception of shrub roses, which do well fending for themselves in winter months, all other rose species do need winter care.

I had added step by step instructions on how to winterize a rose bush. I think you will be very satisfied with your rose bushes in the spring, and with all the beautiful summer blooms.


Help Your Roses Bushes Go Dormant Gradually

For Rose Bushes Winterizing Start In August

In late August you can help your rose bush go dormant gradually by giving them a "rest" period. In late August it's time to stop feeding or pruning your rose bushes. By letting the bush rest, you'll be letting the bush know it's time to slow down on new growth. This will prevent the new growth from suffering the damages of the upcoming winter.

In August instead of dead heading, leave the last of the flowers on the stems. This will promote new hips on its branches. Hips are the rose bushes seed pods, and where new growth will be developed. The seed pods let the rose bush know it's done producing blooms for the season, and the bush will start to go into its dormant state.


In The Fall Rose Bushes Need Tidying And Deep Watering

In The Fall Give The Rose Bush A Good Cleaning

In the Fall remove all fallen leaves at base of bush, and any other debris. This will helps to prevent diseases from other garden contaminants.Insects like to make their homes in such debris.

After The First Frost Make Sure To Water Your Rose Bushes

After the first frost it's important to thoroughly water soak the soil around the base of the rose bush. This is very important because once the ground freezes around the base of the rose bush, water will not absorb properly. So, make sure to give the bush plenty of water before the ground freezes. This water will help the bush all winter long. So, don't forget to water your rose bushes before the ground freezes.


Winterizing Graft Unions

Protecting Graft Unions For The Winter Months

The graft union is where the rose bush grows and attached to a hardy healthy rootstock. The graft should be at or just below the soil surface.

In November it's time to protect the graft union on your rose bushes. After a couple of hard freezes have past, mound 6 -12 inches of healthy disease free compost around the crown of the rose bush. This will provide protection for the roots of the bush, and the graft unions in the colder temperatures.

In a milder winter climate you can circle the rose bush with a wire rose bush cage, and add leaves and or mulch around the crown of the rose bush. Tip - do not use soil around the rose bush as mulch. Soil can erode the base of the bush, and could result in exposing or disturb the bushes roots.


Feed Your Rose Bushes Lightly In November

In Zone 9 Or Above

In any zone where roses won't be subject over freezing or snow, keep an eye out for fungal diseases that can occur in cooler wet climates. Since your roses are still growing and setting buds, November is when you should start a light feeding. Don't make the mistake of over feeding the rose bush before winter.

In regards to what kind of plant food, I always have prefer Bonide 7101 4-Pound Rose and Flower Food 3-4-3.


Always Cone Your Rose Bush If They Are In A Heavy Snow Zone

Coning A Rose Bush For Heavy Snow Area

A popular method of winter protection for rose bushes is the use of styrofoam cones. A cone can be used if the bush will be exposed to heavy snow. The cone must fit properly, never stuff a bush into an ill fitting cone. The bush should be covered before snowfall, but late into the winter season. A cone must be well ventilated, to prevent heat from build-up inside the cone on sunny winter days. It is very important to ventilate a cone. Do this by cutting five or six 1-inch holes around the top, as well as the bottom of the cone. Heat buildup can cause the rose bush break while it is dormant. It's also advisable to mound soil around the crown of the plant before putting the cone in place. If using a cone, weight it down with a brick to insure it stays in place.

I hope if you have any tips on winterizing rose bushes you will share.

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    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 23 months ago from USA

      This doesn't have anything to do with winterizing roses, but it should help a lot of rose growers. The last place we lived had rich loam ground. Everything grew wonderfully except roses. The rose bushes got black spot so bad that it killed a few of them.

      Then we moved here with the sandy ground. We have no problems with black spot anymore and the roses grow so much better. It might pay for those with loamy ground to plant them in sand.