“…the red, red rose. In ageless sleep, she finds repose.”
Now that autumn has arrived, it’s time to start getting your roses ready for their long winter’s nap. With a little bit of planning and prep, you can make sure your sleeping beauties wake up healthy and refreshed in the spring.
1. Get Your Roses Ready for Bed - Before the first hard frost, stop deadheading your roses. Stop any nitrogen fertilizer and slowly decrease your watering. These are all signals to your roses that it’s time to stop growing and time to get ready for bed.
2. Do a Little Clean Up - Generally, it’s best to wait until early spring to prune roses, but if yours have gotten really big this year, their tall canes may be damaged by the strong winds and heavy snows of winter. You can cut back up to 1/3 of the rose between October and November to keep it nice and compact. It’s also a good idea to rake up all the dead leaves and debris around the roses to prevent overwintering fungus and insects.
3. Mound Dirt - After the first hard frost, as the roses begin to go dormant, mound top soil around the base of the plant about 10” to 12” high to cover the vulnerable bud union (1). Bring the dirt from other parts of the garden or use a little left over top soil so you won’t scrape away the dirt from around the rose that insulates the root ball.
4. Wrap With A Rose Collar - After you’ve made your mound, place a rose collar around your rose. Fill the collar with dry leaves, dry clippings or any other dry mulch. Then top it off with a little more dirt to keep everything from blowing away. Now your rose is ready for the winter!
Early in the springtime, you can take away the collar, but leave the mulch in place until there is no danger of freezing. After the last frost of the year, remove all the mulch and soil.