Winter Protection – An outline
Dave Candler, CR
Prevent frost-heave of roots
Keep roses dormant
Prevent premature leafing out
Clean up and prevent insect and disease problems
Methods for Connecticut/ New England:
the plants ready
Water well, if nature has not- nature has been adequate for the 10 years
prior to 2006
Remove fallen diseased leaves to another place- not the compost pile
Keep up disease spray programs through October
Cut nice flowers for the house, but Don’t deadhead after mid September- let
hips develop, telling the plant to go dormant
around Thanksgiving. Err to later.
This is the focal point- the bud union. Simply stated, for hybrid
teas, strive for 8-12” of soil covering the Bud Union, floribundas and
climbers 6-10”, miniatures and shrubs are usually on their own roots, and
they can receive less attention
Consider collars and cages – these corral the mulch and save work.
Soil- from another part of the garden (especially if roses are too close
Leaves- the question of Oak Leaves and Ground Up- using “Only Chopped Oak
Leaves”, as the frequently passed on philosophy is incorrect. Oak
leaves are useful because they are cupped and stiff, making a good
air-filled volume (air is a Good insulator). Other non-chopped leaves
may tend to mat flat, especially when they get wet- and they Will Get Wet
(water is a Great conductor, but a terrible insulator). If not
chopped, leaves blow away. When chopped, the result defeats the
purpose of Oak. When the scenario started, rosarians built collars and
raked whole leaves into them. Current practice is to often chop the
leaves (e.g. riding mower with a catcher) and dump the chopped result on the
plants. This works, to a point, but after chopping/mowing the
importance of the type of tree diminishes. It is fast, and easy, and
if you have a riding mower, and can’t do soil for all your roses, Do It.
Note: one issue is that leaves fall and are mower up in October. This
is a bit early. But will work fine, since the insulation is not the
same as soil (done later).
Don’t forget rodent poison (voles) if you use leaves instead of soil (put
down, in small poly tubes, before the leaves)
Compost- can be used, but is less of an insulator (because there is less
Snow- see Darwinian Sort below
Container-grown roses. PLANT THEM (best done when really dormant-
November in CT usually is ok)
Do not over-winter as houseplants
Tree roses (standards)- much additional work- contact a CR, if you need to
try to protect these. There is an excellent article on protecting tree
roses written by John Shelley on the www.ARS.org website.
Rose Cones- don’t use, unless… there is a much longer discussion about
these. Call a CR or Dave Candler for all the details of how to use
these without threatening your plants. There is a threat of
'cooking' roses beneath if these are not used properly and removed when a
long warm spell occurs.
are an extremely lucky person and rely on that (luck) rather than skill, and
knowledge- then you can Go For It, but beware...
methods in other areas:
Tip- you dig up ½ the roots
on one side of the plant, allowing bending the whole plant to the ground on
the opposite side. Cover all the plant with lots of soil.
to do things later than in CT, and dormant oil sprays are recommended, which
due to the care needed for timing and application are not recommended by CRs
Pit-– dig a hole 6’ deep, dig up all your roses, put in hole, cover hole
with plywood and then cover that with soil. Dig all up in late March
and replant roses in March/April.
Blanket- Montreal Rose Garden- use hi-tech insulating blankets to
cover all roses.
Sort- hope for snow, and if a
cold winter, and little snow, allow “Survival of the Fittest” – note: this
is Far Less Work, but is costly in the early years. It teaches the
rosarian that purchasing Very Hardy roses to begin with is desirable and
cost effective. It also teaches of the whimsical variances (standard
deviations, too) of Mother Nature’s winters. You must either be very
careful of the (read: hardy) plants you buy, or be prepared for loss.
This is not a Bad plan, if it is part of a Plan. For example, if you
lean toward shrubs, miniatures, and some floribundas it can work, most of
the time. A very cold winter can be costly (e.g. Jan. 2004, Jan 2005).
You will need to replace some plants- especially HT’s. I
recommend against Hoping, especially if you have less than 30 or so HT’s.
And if you are a Budding Rosarian, Call A Consulting
Rosarian! if you have further questions.
They are listed on www.ctrose.org in
the Rose Culture Section