How To Winterize Roses- Instructions and Tips

Winterizing roses is easy with these simple step-by-step instructions and tips. Hybrid teas need extra attention when it comes to winterizing. Hybrid tea roses need the extra protection in winter months since they come from plants more suited to moderate zones. Freezing temperatures break down their cell walls and allow the canes to dry out, and then they turn black and die.All roses will need some winter protection if you live in colder climates, as well as the hybrid teas I am referring to.

"Protect Your Roses by Winterizing"

Protect your Hybrid Teas by Winterizing

Good maintenance and practices will help your hybrid teas stay healthy and survive the cold of winter months. The degree of winterizing a rose needs will be determined on how severe your climate is during the winter.

In general, roses grown in USDA zones 8 to 10 will most likely be able to endure the winter temps sufficiently, while those in zones 6 and 7 will necessitate covering. Zone 5 roses and below, will  definitely need to cover their roses with more mulching materials. USDA zone map references.

Another guideline: If your temperatures remain below 20 degrees F. (7 C.) for a prolonged period without a blanket of snow to shield it, then you must protect your roses if you want them to survive.

If, on the other hand, your ground freezes for most of the winter and the temps drop to 10 degrees F. (-12 C.), then this of course will need covering. If your  temperature lows are rare and rain frequently is keeping your soil too wet, Your roses would be do better if you kept them uncovered. You don’t want any types of diseases or fungus to set up on your bush.

In some areas, you can purchase specially made coverings to put over your roses for protection. Another way to protect your roses, is to simply mound up 6 to 8 inches of dirt around the base of the plant if you live in moderate zones, and 12 inches in colder zones. Place the dirt around the lower portions of the bush. This will serve to conduct heat up from the ground, which even if frozen will be warmer than the air temps. If you can get at least this much of your hybrid teas to survive the winter, then you should be able to prune the rest off when spring arrives.

*Tip- The best thing you can do for your plants, is to keep them healthy through the summer and keep pests and diseases from attacking your bushes. If the bushes are healthy, then they will have a much better chance to survive the winter months. One precaution, is to not stimulate the plant too much as autumn approaches because you don’t want your bushes to take on new

Steps to Winterize Your Roses

1. After your first frost, you should prune back your rose bush. Any pruning after this time period, should only be to cut off any diseased portions. Shorter stems should be pruned by half, and short ones by one third of its length.

Try not to let your plant dry out, as many times this will cause more damage to your plant than will letting it get too cold. A special type of spray called ‘anti-desiccate’ should be applied soon after you have pruned them back. What you are doing is sealing in the moisture so that it stays in the plant. This will protect the plant from any temperature fluctuations that we sometimes have from late winter and early spring thaws. You may also want to use this spray on winterizing your Broadleaf Evergreens.

"Anti-dessicant Spray for Winter Protection"

Anti-desiccant Spray

2. You may need to add some additional dirt in late November or early December. This should be done before the ground freezes. Place the dirt at the base of the plant and pile it around up to the depth for your area so you get the amount of protection you need. Try to avoid a mix that has too much humus in it. Use a soil that has a little extra sand to it to help the plant not get bogged down with moisture.

3. Add some mulch over the soil, especially if you are in the colder climates. You can do this by using hay, bark chips, pine needles, or leaves. This serves as extra protection.

"Winterize Heavier in Colder Climates"

Mulch height depends on USDA Zone

4. Don’t remove your protective measures too soon. In the spring, wait until the ground has finishes thawing before removing the dirt. After that occurs, remove the mulch and dirt so that the new growth will not become damaged. Don’t pull off your mulching materials too soon in the season. Keep it on hand, just as a precaution, for those times when the temperatures may again plummet below what they should.

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