I need advice on when I should cover my rose bush for the winter. Also, should I trim it back or not?
post #1 of 7
9/12/07 at 2:32pm
There are lots of opinions on how to do this so I'll just offer mine.
You don't want to over prune a rose bush in the fall, as pruning stimulates growth and you don't want it to try to grow once it gets cold. Some books will recommend that you cut off the top 1/3 - 1/2 of the bush as you cover it, and others tell you to leave them alone. I used to prune away the really leggy branches.
I would cover the center of the plant at the base with a few inches of dirt or mulch. You want to protect the Bud Union, which is the roundish ball at the base of the plant. In more northern climates, you plant the rose bush with the Bud Union close to the soil. The warmer the climate, the higher the Bud Union will be. This is where all the nutrients are created to feed the plant during the year. If that dies back, the rose bush won't produce.
Then I build a cage for the bottom of the rose bush (about 18" tall) out of some type of wire material (I used chicken wire but anything sturdy will do). Then I cram the leaves from my lawn into the wire base to give it more insulation. You can use mulch or other materials as long as its insulated from the cold. When I've used mulch, come spring I simply pull it out from the bush and cover the ground around it to use as mulch during the warm months.
They do sell the cones to cover a rose bush, but I've heard that they tend to rot out the bush as they add too much moisture to it over the winter.
Ok but how cold should it get before I mulch it in. I've heard that if you do it to soon the roots will get too hot and burn up.