Roses blooming in December? A warm fall kept roses blooming, but now it's time to protect them from winter.
If you have rugosa roses, landscape roses, such as the Knockout roses, and old fashioned varieties, just leave them as they are. They're hardy and will be fine.
But if you have hybrid roses, such as hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras, basically any rose with a graft union, those need protection. The graft union is where that cultivated variety is grafted onto a root stock. If it fails, then the root stock is going to grow up and you're going to get a rose of a very different color!
If you see a bulge on the stem near the soil line, that's where the graft union is. To protect it, I'm going to pour bark mulch over it, mounding it about one foot deep to cover the graft union. The mulch will protect it. Bark mulch works well because it's chunky enough to let air get in around the rose stems and the mulch doesn't mat down all of that wet material around the stem and rot it.
If you put leaves down on the roses or hay a lot of times the stems will rot, but with bark mulch you don't have to worry about that. If you have the rose canes sticking out of top of the bark mulch, don't worry. We're going to prune them back in the spring anyway.
So you'll get your rose all tucked in for the winter. by doing it now the voles and mice have found another winter home, and you're be all set until spring.
By Charlie Nardozzi
PO Box 4508