Pruning roses for the winter season is important. Roses have long been a favorite of many gardeners, but the frigid months of north can be detrimental to any plant and roses are no different. As the weather begins to change, so do the needs of the roses we enjoyed over the growing season. Having a strong understanding on how to prune roses for their winter dormant season will help ensure another year of blooming beauties to follow.
When the weather begins to shift to the colder months, it becomes important to prune and prep the rose plants for their dormant season. Important elements in properly caring for rose plants includes: removal the dead blossoms, pruning back any dead leaves stems or canes, tying the canes of rose bushes together, mounding soil or mulch 8-10 inches around the canes, and depending on the harshness of your winter, covering the rose bushes completely.
Pruning rose plants after the last bloom stores the roses energy during the dormant season. The removal of spent blooms (where the seeds are stored) and cutting the canes to 28-34 inches will help protect the roses from the damaging cold winds of winter. It is important to also remove all dead and fallen leaves from around the roses before mounding the soil or mulch.
When you prune your roses you don’t have to throw away the clippings that you remove. As long as the roses are not patented you are free to propagate them and create more plants. Watch the video below.
Once you have your roses adequately pruned and the debris removed it is time to mound soil or mulch in the center and around the bushes, mounding approximately 9-12 inches high and wide. When deciding whether to use soil or mulch, I took the advice of Mike McGroarty, he says, “I prefer using mulch when prepping for winter, mulch allows the roses to breath, lessening chances of stem rot.”
After the rose bushes have there mulch (or soil) covering in place, put leaves or straw on top. There is a multitude of preferences gardeners use during this step. Some prefer securing the cane by wrapping it first, then mounding inside the secured cane. Some even choose to use some types of shredded wood, chips or sawdust instead of mulch or soil. Rose gardens can be both an art and a science, and each gardener may have their own tried and true methods.
In locations where the winters tend to be more harsh, it is recommended to also cover the rose bushes. When covering roses, be sure to insulate the insides of the structure and poke holes in the structure for proper air circulation. When I was trying to decide if I should cover my roses for the winter I again turned to Mike. “If you decide to cover your roses for the winter, don’t use clear plastic. Clear plastic causes plants to heat up which takes them out of their dormant state.” To an amateur gardener like myself, I would have never thought of the effects of clear plastic on my roses. I am glad I asked!
When the weather breaks, simply remove most of the mulch or soil that was mounded with in the rose bush.
Roses are a favorite among gardeners everywhere, taking the time to learn how to prune roses for winter will help in the survival of the plant for the next growing season. Even if you are new to gardening, there is little reason to be unable to attend to a beautiful rose garden, simply follow the secrets of other gardeners or ask for advice from those with the experience in productive gardening