Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Winterizing Your Roses

Mulch should be added to the bud union of roses
to protect from freezing. 
By Witherspoon Rose Culture

The blooming season comes to a close in autumn. During this dormant stage, take care of important gardening tasks, to ensure your next spring is as breathtaking as you always dreamed!

1.      Plants should be reduced in height (waist high) to prevent breakage from winter winds.  Climbers remain tall but should be secured to the trellis or fence.  Cut leggy branches from Tree roses to produce a rounded shape.
2.      This is a good time to apply lime as needed to obtain a pH of around 6 to 6.5. (The local Agricultural Extension Agency is a great resource for soil testing & evaluation)
3.      Mulch should be mounded around the base of rose plants to protect from winter freezes.
4.      Timed irrigation systems should be shut down for the winter.
5.      Container grown plants should be moved closer to the house to protect against winter winds. Extreme climates would require more drastic measures.
6.      Check the health of your plants and place an order for fresh bareroot roses to arrive  January through mid-April.  Replace plants that are spindly or reduced to less than 3 healthy canes (pencil diameter).
7.      Dilute Lime-Sulfur with water and spray over entire bed including the ground.  This is very important to rid your garden of pests and black spot spores that would harbor over the winter.
8.      Transplanting roses can be done successfully during this dormant stage.  Carefully prepare the new spot 16" deep, enriched with cow manure and soil conditioner.  Placing spade 10" from base of plant dig straight down into the bed in a circle around the plant, trying not to cut roots.  Lift the plant with the shovel and carry it directly to the new spot.  Fill in soil and cover the plant with a mound of mulch.  Water 3-5 gal.
9.      Make plans for new rose beds or additions.  Autumn is the perfect time to prepare the soil for winter or spring plantings as the soil has time to set and stabilize.  Turn over the soil 16" deep and apply proper soil amendments to produce a light loamy mixture.  (Or call a professional rose specialist)
10. Clean, sharpen and oil shears and pruners to prepare for spring pruning.

Feel free to call Witherspoon Rose Culture in Durham at (919) 489-4446 or (800) 643-0315 should you have any questions about your rose care. Or visit With over 60 years invested in the rose care and rose sales business, Witherspoon knows roses.

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