Protecting Roses for the Winter
When a rose is grafted it took the variety like Peace or Iceberg in this case and just grafted it onto a seedling rose to give the root vigor and the top growth. If that graft dies, then we’ll lose our named rose. So, on these old types of hybrid tea roses, what we had to do was protect that graft union during the winter months.
The easiest way to do that is to take some soil or compost and create a mound of soil six to eight inches high over the center of the plant. Our goal is to protect this crown down here at the base from the freezing and thawing of winter. It’s best to put this in place after the first frost in the fall. And then you’ll want to remove it from the rose in the spring in mid-April.
There’s a debate on what type of material to use for mulching your hybrid tea roses. Some will recommend a good quality garden soil, some will use compost, and others will use mulch. The problem with a wood mulch is that it’s very light and airy and you may not get the winter insulation that you need.
Then, in the spring, the question is “what do you do with that mound of soil or compost?” In my case, where I’m using compost, I’m just going to take that material and spread it out in the garden. And then I’ll put a layer of mulch on top of that. The organic matter will help improve the soil, and gives some extra nutrients to the plants.
When it come to getting ready for the winter with our easy care roses, the answer is “absolutely nothing!” Most of these roses are grown on their own roots. In other words, there is a variety called Knock Out, and it has it’s own Knock Out roots. So if it dies back to the ground in a harsh winter, it will come back true to nature. So basically on the easy care roses like the Knock Out and other varieties, just enjoy them until frost, let the winter take care of them, and then in the spring just prune out the dead wood and you’re ready to go for another season of wonderful growth.
This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.