Winter preparation for roses and more

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Climbing roses can be loosely tied to the trellis or support to prevent whipping and windbreaking during the winter. In the spring, remove dead wood.

Winter care of roses has become much easier with newer varieties, especially shrub rose varieties. These tend to be winter hardy and suffer some stem dieback.

Hybrid tea, multiflora and floribunda roses are also easy to care for. Some like to cover the plants with rose cones to protect the canes. For me, it’s too much work. The plants in my garden are self-sufficient during the winter.

There is one exception to this. I haven’t planted all the plants I’ve purchased this season until recently, in fact, I’m still planting!

Anything planted this late in the season should be mulched for the winter to prevent soil heaving.

Plants that have just entered the ground have not had enough time to develop a root system to fix them in the ground. Winter freezing and thawing of the soil causes heaving and the root system is pushed out of the ground.

Exposed roots are likely to dry out or freeze, killing the plant. Therefore, avoid this by piling a loose layer of mulch on the soil around the plant, up to about eight to ten inches around the crown.

This keeps the soil temperature at a moderate level and prevents heaving. Remove the mulch in early spring (March) so the plants can start new spring growth.

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However, don’t mulch the plants until late November when the ground is cold and near freezing. Mulching too early keeps the soil warm.

If you’re like me and aren’t planting all this fall, incline the plants to protect them from the winter. I simply bunch them into a tight mass and mulch the whole group of plants, making sure the mulch gets into the cracks and crevices between the pots.

I pile mulch around the top of the pots to keep the temperatures moderate all winter long and to protect the roots.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the State Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator and Horticulture Educator for The Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at [email protected].


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