You probably hate to say goodbye to your beautiful rose blooms over the winter, but allowing your bushes to take a nap is a really important part of the cycle of life. Take care of your rose bushes over the winter, and you can ensure healthy plants and plenty of lovely blooms when warm weather returns in the spring.
Stop fertilizing to prepare for winter. Hopefully, you stopped fertilizing your rose bushes in the fall. You don’t want them trying to grow in the winter, because producing new growth in cooler months can result in damage or death for your plants. Even if you made the mistake of fertilizing throughout the fall, definitely do not fertilize your rose bushes during winter months. You can feed your roses once again when spring weather arrives and the temperatures begin staying consistently warm (or at least above freezing).
Winter pruning. Once the weather has turned cold, your rose bushes will go dormant. Prune all of the canes on your rose bushes, except those on climbing bushes, down to about half of their height. This will protect the canes from breakage over the winter. http://mccabes.wpengine.com/how-to-prune-your-roses/. If your roses still have leaves on them, be sure to strip off all of the foliage and remove it from the garden. Leaving rose foliage on the ground can lead to serious bacterial problems for the bushes.
Mound rose bushes for winter protection. Mound soil or mulch around the base of your rose bushes, to protect the plant in cold weather. This will prevent them from starting new growth too early, before the weather is consistently warm enough. The last thing you want is for your bushes to start growing and then get hit with another burst of colder weather.
Watering your rose bushes. Winter can be dry, and the soil can be depleted of moisture very quickly. Don’t forget about watering your rose bushes over the winter! They won’t need a deep watering, but do remember to give them a drink a few times per week, or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.
For more help with your rose bushes, give us a call or stop by our nursery. We’ll be happy to pass along some friendly advice on winter rose care or planting new roses in the spring.