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Protecting Roses Over Winter

Saturday, November 2, 2013 @ 3:45 AM
Roses are an attractive addition to many local landscapes.
 
Over the past few years the selection of hardy roses for our area has grown tremendously. There are many different varieties of hardy roses The ‘Explorer’ series, has roses named after explorers. The ‘Morden’ series, ‘Parkland’ series, Hansa roses, are all hardy enough to withstand our zone 3 northern climate. The advantage to growing hardy roses is that they need very little winter protection to survive the winter successfully.
 
To help hardy roses over the winter months a few things can be done now. It is always important to make sure that the soil is moist around the plant before the frost sets into the ground. Placing extra soil around the base of the plant this time of year can be helpful, as is extra mulch such as disease free, shredded leaves, peat moss, etc.
 
After the rose has been touched by a frost a rough pruning is done. Remove any unhealthy branches, and trim back the rose to half its original size. The rest of the pruning, which I call the ‘fine tune pruning’ is done in the spring.
 
Some gardeners still like to grow the tender roses such as hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas and miniature roses which are not hardy for our area. These roses can be treated as an annual and be replaced every year or they can get the extra winter protection to help them make it through the winter.
 
To keep these roses for the following year the following steps should be followed. After the first killing frost cut back the stems to 30-35 cm from the ground. This will make it easier to winterize the rose, as you want to cover the entire rose bush to protect it over the winter. Get a large pot, or pail and remove the bottom of the pot to make it into a tube. Place it over the rose bush and then fill it with peat moss so that the entire rose is encased in peat moss There are also styrofoam rose huts available at the garden centre that can be used, to cover the rose bush. Before the frost sets into the ground make sure that the soil is moist around the rose bush.
 
Over the winter, when it snows, shovel snow over the rose bushes as this will give the rose extra protection. Snow makes a great insulator.
 
In the spring when the temperatures have warmed up the protective mulch is removed. The fine tune pruning is done in April when the plant begins to show signs of growth. 
 
-Jos
 
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road

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