Prepare Roses for Winter

trimming rosesIf you grow roses, and live in a cold winter climate, then you’ll need to prepare your rose plants ahead of time to ensure healthy growth next spring. The following simple how-to steps are recommended for Canadian gardeners who experience a long, very cold winter season, but the advice is useful for any rose gardener wishing to raise healthy roses under similar conditions.

Prepare for Winter with a Rosy Outlook

(NC)-For many gardeners rose bushes are a prized possession. As the gardening season comes to a close, it’s time to prepare your roses for the cold, harsh Canadian winter ahead. Knowing the best feeding and prepping techniques will ensure your cherished roses survive the winter and bloom beautifully in the spring.

Proper feeding is the first step in putting healthy roses to bed for the winter. Remember to continue feeding the plants every seven to 14 days with a specially formulated plant food for roses, such as Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Rose Plant Food 18-24-6. Once temperatures fall below 1°, switch to plant food containing only phosphorus and potassium to help strengthen the plant over the winter.

Other preparation secrets include proper cleaning, pruning and inspection to ensure roses are strong, as well as insect and disease-free. Here are some more simple tips to prepare your roses for the fall and winter:

  • Rake leaves and mulch away from the base of the plants as disease spores or insect eggs may be hidden there.
  • Examine roses for any insects or diseases – especially rust and black spot.
  • Trim off flowers and buds. This will encourage the plant’s energy to go into underground growth for the winter.
  • If you live in the colder parts of Canada, cut roses back to 30 to 36 inches, tying the longest canes together to protect them from wind damage.
  • When regular frost begins, mound several spadefuls of soil over the base of the plant and extend the soil up at least a foot above the graft (bud union). When the ground is thoroughly frozen, cover the mound with a thick layer of mulch, such as straw or compost.

Canadian readers wishing more information about roses can speak with a Scotts Garden Expert call 1-866-436-8477 or visit