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If you have hardy rose plants, you probably don’t have to do anything to prep them for winter, but other rose varieties are more delicate and require special protection from the winter’s cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADelicate rose varieties include:

  • Hybrid teas
  • Floribundas
  • Grandifloras
  • Climbers

For protection, your roses need to “harden off” prior to winter so that their cell walls thicken to create a strong, protective layer. This process can occur naturally over the fall months, or you can encourage your plants to enter a stage of dormancy.

How You Can Help Your Roses Prepare for Winter:

  1. Stop Fertilizing

Fertilization encourages new growth, so applying it would be counterproductive. Stop fertilizing your roses about six weeks prior to the first frost in your area.

  1. Stop Pruning

Don’t cut back your roses. Instead, let the seed pods (also known as hips) develop and mature in order to slow the growth of your plants. You can read more about deadheading in our previous blog, “Prune Perennials – Deadheading in Columbus, Ohio.”

Once your plants are hardened off, here are some ways to protect them from the freezing temperatures and gusty winds of winter:

Pile up loose soil around the base of each rose plant in late fall/early winter. As it gets increasingly colder, add a layer of hay, straw, or composted leaves that reach a height of about one foot.

Note: Make sure not to use the existing soil in your beds as it may disturb the roots of your plants. Either purchase new soil or repurpose soil from another location in your yard.

For maximum protection against winter, undo your climbing roses from the trellis or fencing that supports the plants. Wrap the branches of the plant with an insulating material such as burlap and then re-tie the wrapped rose plant to the support. Then add a layer of soil, hay, straw, or mulched leaves to the base of each plant.

Delicate rose plants, such as hybrid tea roses, benefit from the added protection of a cone over the winter. Whether you buy a reusable plastic cylinder, a cone made of Styrofoam, or you make your own, this added protection has a great ROI come spring!

Simply place your barrier over or around the plant and fill with a mixture of dry leaves, soil and bark chips. You can even add hay and/or straw. Also, ensure that your plants are well-ventilated by adding air holes where needed (like in the case of a solid Styrofoam cone). If your cones are light, weigh them down by placing a large rock on top.

For plant and landscape services in Columbus, Ohio, contact Five Seasons Landscape Management. We provide commercial and residential landscaping for your home or business.