Winterizing Roses

Roses are so beautiful that it's difficult to begrudge them the extra attention they require over the growing season. As cool fall weather brings on their dormant period, one final job remains for you: preparing them for winter. As a group, hybrid tea roses are the most vulnerable to winter cold and need the most preparation.It's important to stop fertilizing in late summer in our area. Make the last feeding of the season two months before you expect the first frost. Also refrain from major pruning, and stop cutting blossoms, to avoid stimulating any more new, tender growth, which will be killed by the first frost anyway.It is a rule of thumb not to winterize till after two good hard frosts where temperatures fall to at least 28°F, that would be late November or into late December. Winter protection is designed to keep plants consistently cold, not warm: the objective is to hold thoroughly dormant canes at a fairly constant temperature. Sudden, rapid, or frequent changes in temperature present a serious hazard. Because moisture in the canes expands as it freezes, quick freezing breaks cell walls inside the canes and destroys plant tissue; repeated bouts of freezing, thawing, and refreezing can ruin exposed canes.
Besides constructing artificial protection for your rose bushes, you can minimize the effect of winter cold on your plantings in other ways. First, remember that location and exposure influence the intensity of cold and the extent of temperature fluctuation.Roses planted against a southern exposure are kept warmer and protected more then from a northern exposure. Cold air sinks, so valley gardens are colder than those on surrounding hillsides, and the lowest parts of your garden are the coldest ones. Roses planted in such low spots obviously run the greatest danger of freezing and should be well insulated; they are also the most vulnerable to damage by late freezes.
Second, be aware of the effects of wind. Cold wind dries out canes: the rose's roots cannot take up water from frozen soil to replace that evaporated by wind, and the result is desiccated canes that may die or fail to produce vigorous growth. Moreover, winter wind is often distinctly colder than still air—the "wind chill factor" mentioned by meteorologists. Gardens sheltered by walls or by plantings that serve as windbreaks are likely to be warmer than exposed gardens. If climbing roses are planted against a wall that provides shelter and raises temperatures by means of reflected heat, they may be able to survive in regions slightly beyond their normal hardiness limit.Some gardeners prefer to construct wire mesh cylinders to surround each plant, which they fill with mulch. Spray plants one final time with a rose fungicide or lime sulfur spray, making sure to spray all canes and the base of the plant.

For minimum winter protection

Reduce breakage of tall canes by winter winds by cutting them back to 30 to 36 inches and tying tips together. Remove dead and fallen leaves around the plants. Hill soil over the center of the plants in broad rounded mounds at least 12 inches high and 12 inches wide.

Another approach is when planting your rose bush. One can plant bud union two to three inches below soil level.

Protecting Tree Roses

What you need :
Organic mulch

1. Tree roses, or standards, are vulnerable to the cold, so you'll want to help them cope with winter. Begin by setting four stakes in the ground around and just beyond the mulched root zone.
2. Wrap a protective barrier of burlap around the stakes and tie it in place with string. Then fill in the middle with an insulating layer of shredded dry leaves or mulch of your choice. The rose is now shielded from harsh winds.

Another way to protect tree roses is by burying them.........

Winterizing shrub roses

anes can be tied in early winter to prevent wind damage. Although most shrub roses are very hardy and require little winter protection, you may wish to protect your roses with a 6" mound of earth around the base of the plant. Bring in soil from elsewhere for this purpose.

Potted Plants
An alternative method of protecting miniatures and other container grown roses is available to those with either an unheated garage or room where there is a reasonable degree of control of the winter temperatures. Keep in mind that most tender roses must be maintained at temperatures above 20 degrees, preferably in the 40s during the winter months. An alternative source of heat may be necessary during extreme cold periods. The potted plants are sprayed and watered, usally just enough to keep moist.. The plants may respond to warm spring temperatures and began to grow before it is warm enough to move the pots back outdoors, so careful monitoring is accentual.One will proberly find themselves moving the pots outside during those warm spring days and back inside if there is a freeze warning in the forcast. This will give you early roses. A thermometer put near the plant and check it through the winter just to be sure of the temperature is a good idea for the contentment of ones own mind.

Another method for overwintering your potted roses is to dig a trench in your garden. Defoliate and tie up the canes and place the plant (in its container) in the trench. Cover with four to six inches of soil for insulation. Remember to leave a length of twine above ground so you can dig it up again in the spring.

The Birds
Believe it or not, feeding the neighborhood birds is key to keeping your backyard ecosystem in balance. We rely heavily on our feathered friends to hang around and eat the insects. It's part of the natural cycle. Not only that, but they add a little beauty to what can be a rather drab time of year. And they'll serve as reminders that even during the winter months, things are still moving around in your garden. Maybe you should be, too.

For more information on Bird Feeding you might check Wild Birds Unlimited for all your needs..

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Last updated September 18,2008

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