It's time to put the roses to bed. It's getting cold! We had some hard freezes, but the ground hasn't frozen solid yet.
If you have hybrid tea roses and floribunda roses, like "Peace" rose or "Julia Child," or if you have some of the more tender landscape roses, such as some of the Knockout roses, these types will need a little protection in the winter. If you have Rugosa roses, species roses, or some of the heirlooms, don't bother with protecting them. They are fine on their own. But for these tender ones you need to protect from the winter winds and from freezing and thawing.
First, you want to protect the rose bush from the freezing and thawing cycles. You do that by adding either bark mulch, wood chips or even chopped up leaves around the plant. Basically, you want to just bury the bush.
Dump it right on the top and bury it about one foot or so deep. What's nice about this material is that it lets the air in so that it doesn't mat down and rot the stems of the rose plant.
Now if you want to go a little more advanced with it, you can cut your rose back to about 16" tall, and put a rose cone over it. You put those cones right over the top of the rose, anchor it down so it doesn't blow away, and that will protect it from the drying winds.
And if you want to get a little more sophisticated, we even have blankies! This is a rose blankie. It's a fleece that goes over the top of the rose. Again put it all the way down so the bush is protected. You just tuck it in for the winter. So, hopefully all of these techniques will protect your rose so that next spring you can prune out any dead areas and you have a beautiful rose for the next summer.
By Charlie Nardozzi
PO Box 4508