How To Prepare Roses For A Northern Winter

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There are many different types of winter weather you can get in the northern part of the country, making it hard for roses to grow and reach their full potential during the growing season. Depending on location there are a variety of ways to get roses through the winter season… but you need to start early. From covering with them with leaves, to growing them in large tree containers and moving them inside for the winter. For tips and tricks to get roses ready for winter… read the rest of the article below…

Rose Question:

My roses did not come through last winter very well. It was a battle all year to help them recover. This winter I’d like to better prepared. What should I do to prepare my roses for a cold northern winter. Megan, Minn

Answer:

Megan, a great variety of winter weather found in northern areas of the United States presents rose growers with a great problem, so do not feel alone – in fact, it could be the hardest part of rose growing.

Some years, winter sets in following a very dry fall. Other times it comes with an abnormal amount of snow when the ground is only barely frozen. Then again, a winter season with little or no snow may have severely cold, below normal temperatures. Or, any combination of these conditions.

Before covering roses for winter, make sure the beds have plenty of moisture in them before the heavy freeze or before the time that covering gets under way usually about November 10, depending on conditions of the season.

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Do not spare the water, for it surely helps bring roses through the varied weather they deal with in northern areas.

Varied Methods Of Winter Rose Protection

Northern rose growers employ varied methods of caring for roses through the winter.

Some mound the plant with dirt, entirely covering it, and then use a light covering of hay or straw; others hill the plant with dirt up only four or five inches from the base, using a greater amount of hay or straw for covering.

Some even build wooden housings to cover the plants after filling with dirt and covering with hay. Most of these practices have been used for many years. All have been used with success.

Mildew & Mounding Roses

When using earth for mounding rose plants, some growers have had problems with mildew on the main stems. The mildew damages the stems and slows up the “comeback” for vigorous growth.

The cause of the appearance of mildew is rather hard to explain. I believe the chief reason for the mildew is not removing the covering early enough in the spring.

The covering should be removed not later than the first week of April – even earlier if possible, unless extremely subnormal weather conditions prevail. The rose grower must take each year’s weather in stride.

Covering With Leaves

Leaves are another kind of covering for winter rose protection – but not rose leaves. Many rose growers in northern areas use leaves alone for winter protection. True, it takes a great amount of leaves to give ample protection for roses – more leaves usually, than the average rose growers property has.

If you use leaves, do not be afraid to place them well around the plants, and to put plenty on top, also.

It will be necessary to use some material to hold the leaves in place. A coarse grade of chicken wire is rather inexpensive and will do the job adequately for many years. Even if some snow falls before the roses are covered, go ahead and cover over the snow.

In the spring when the leaves are removed, they will be excellent material for a compost pile. Some growers prune their roses in the fall before putting them to bed. Others do not prune until spring, after new growth begins to develop.

For covering pillar or climbing roses, it is best to lay all canes on the ground and use any of the ways suggested for the bush roses. Removing climbers and pillar roses from their trellises or fences gives you an opportunity to inspect and repair supports when necessary.

Tree Roses

Some gardeners grow tree roses in large containers and move them inside for the winter. One method used some tree rose growers is to loosen the dirt around three sides of the plant and gradually bend the entire tree over to the ground, pinning it down with stakes. Then use the same method as for climbers and bush roses.

Taking the time to prepare your roses for winter will pay dividends when the warm spring weather arrives – and so do the blooms!

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What To Do This Month- August

August's lazy days are here, when even the most energetic gardener's enthusiasm is dampened by lethargy.
  • Water & Weed - Make it a point, at least, to water and weed in preparation for Autumn's cooler days and flowers.
  • fall-petunia-083114
  • Pinch Petunias - Pinch back leggy growths on petunias. A boost with a liquid fertilizer will keep them flowering profusely until frost.
  • Transplant - Plants which have finished blooming may be transplanted or divided: Japanese and bearded iris, Madonna lilies, Oriental poppies, daylilies, Virginia bluebells, Trains and Spring-flowering bulbs whose clumps need separating.
  • Sow Seeds - Sow seeds of bush beans, endive, lettuce, spinach, dwarf peas, turnips and cress for late crops.
  • Red Spider - Watch evergreens for red spider infestations. Hot, dry weather promotes the mites.
  • Harvest Herbs - Herbs may be cut and cured in a dry, airy place, without exposing to the sun, before storing for the Winter. The best time to pick them is just before the plants begin to flower, any time during the day as long as the dew has disappeared. Learn how to preserve herbs from the garden to the freezer.
  • House Plants - Water house plants with liquid fertilizer and cut back straggly shoots to induce bushy growth. New plants may also be started from cuttings. Neem oil sprays will get rid of mealy bugs, scale and white flies.
  • Wildlife - If you want the birds to come to your garden, let sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos and other Compositor, especially in out-of-the-way places, go to seed. Goldfinches and other seed-eaters will find them unerringly.