Hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature and floribunda roses need some extra protection for upcoming winter months. Now is the time to stop fertilizing and dead heading your rose bushes. With a hard killing frost coming in the next 4-6 weeks, roses need time to build up energy to carry them through the winter. Rose hips should be allowed to form and remain on the plant until a heavy freeze occurs.
Once a good killing freeze happens, it's time to hill up your roses. Hilling means to cover up the base 12-16" tall around and over the base of your rose bush. I like to use topsoil or mulch. Some will tell you to use leaves or cheap styrofoam covers called rose cones. These two items are not as affective and I do not recommend either. Hilling roses actually helps keep the grafts protected and avoids the constant freeze/thaw cycle which ultimately kills the rose. Trim your roses down to 16-18" tall and discard branches first before hilling up plants. Any leaves should be cleaned up as they can harbor disease over the winter. A fresh clean area surrounding the rose bush will help start the spring growing season healthy and strong. Again, wait till a freeze occurs to do this.
Climbing roses require a little more care. Ohio State recommends removing long canes from trellis or arbors and laying them down on the ground. Cover with soil or mulch. If this is impractical, gather canes together and spray with wilt-pruf or wilt stop. These anti-desiccant sprays help seal moisture in canes and avoid winter burn. For added protection, wrap canes with burlap. This will help with transpiration over winter as well.
Knockout roses are tough plants. Typically, they can be left alone, but after some of the nasty cold winters we have had, I would use the hilling process as well on them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nothing is more frustrating then having to replant year after year. In mid to late march, pull back the soil or mulch used to cover roses and spread around. Remove the mound until soil level is returned to original height you started at. This little bit of work now will reward yourselves come next spring when your roses� begin to flourish. Start fertilizing with rose tone fertilizer snd use bayer's 3 in 1 rose insect and disease control. Your roses will burst with new blooms. Try adding magnesium sulphate ,(epsom salts) In the spring to your roses. True rose enthusiasts say it makes blooms bigger and scents more bountiful. Taken from JR Pandy
Pandys Premier Garden Center
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa