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Winter Care for Roses

I live in the north where winter temperatures can drop below zero degrees. Should cover my roses for the winter?

Grafted roses, including most hybrid teas, usually benefit from winter protection in northern regions. The key to success is waiting until the ground freezes to cover the plants for winter and removing the protection as the temperatures hover around freezing in the spring. I recently heard about a new twist on the traditional soil mound method. Create a 10 to 12 inch tall collar (cylinder) from corrugated cardboard. Some gardeners use newspapers with the ends stapled together or several brown paper bags with the bottoms removed. Place the collar around the plants and fill with compost. Use wire wickets to secure the collar in place as needed. Once frozen the compost and newspaper stay in place. When the compost thaws in spring spread it and the partially decomposed paper over the surrounding soil. Remove winter damaged canes and prune as needed in the spring. Just think, you protected your grafted roses and improved the soil in one step. For details on other wintering techniques, check out one of my book Month-by-Month Gardening books.


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