Winterize Hedge Roses
Hardy, low-maintenance landscape roses, whether shrub, hedge, or ground cover type, require very little winter preparation. Stop fertilizing at least six weeks before frost is anticipated. Also stop pruning or deadheading to allow the plant to begin hardening off for winter. Maintain a year-round layer of organic mulch several inches deep over the root area.
Act Now to Reduce Disease Problems Next Year
If your roses suffered foliage disease problems this past season, take some simple steps this fall and winter to reduce the sources of reinfection for next year. After freezing weather, strip off any remaining foliage and throw it away. Then remove and replace the mulch around the plants with fresh new mulch.
Protect Grafted Roses
In climates colder than about zone 6b, your grafted tea roses will need extra winter protection, even when the graft is buried below the soil line. In late fall, well after freezing weather has arrived, mound extra soil about a foot high over the base of the plant, or install rose cones purchased from the garden center.
Test Soil pH
Roses prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.9. In our region, lime may be needed periodically to raise the pH into that range. Fall is a good time to add it. Test your soil to see if it needs lime (and how much to use.) Garden centers sell pH test kits, or your county Extension Service may offer testing.
Patio Tree Roses
There is no easy way to winterize tree roses. In late fall, after freezing weather starts, bury it horizontally in a deep trench and mulch over top, or bring it indoors to a cool, dark location (30 to 40 degrees F) and keep the soil barely damp. Take it back outside (or uncover it) in mid spring so it can wake up with the season.