Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2003
Regional Report

Clean Up Fallen Foliage

Remove all remaining leaves from canes and send them to your city or village compost facility. This may be tedious but it's necessary to push the plant into dormancy and remove black spot and mildew spores as well as overwintering insects. Be sure to also rake up all leaves around the plants.

Prepare Climbers for Winter

Do not cut back climber canes but tie them securely to a trellis. Climbers produce blossom shoots on the upper two-thirds of the canes, so cutting them back eliminates the flower buds. If the climber is not a hardy rose, treat the rest of the plant just as you would a shrubby hybrid tea.

Mulch Roses

Mound the base of all grafted roses with soil, mushroom compost, garden compost, or finely shredded bark after the temperatures drop to 20 degrees. Soil, compost, or a mixture of the two works best since they don't blow away. Mound it 12 to 18 inches high if possible.

Prepare Potted Tree Roses for Winter

Dig a trench in which to bury potted tree roses. Although some rose growers recommend merely moving the plant in its pot into an unheated garage, this is risky. Burying the entire plant for the winter is the only way to completely protect the tender graft at the top of the plant.

Bury Hybrid Teas

In the coldest climates of the Midwest, a surefire way to help hybrid teas survive the winter is to dig a trench beside the rose, long enough to accommodate the canes. Loosen the roots on the opposite side from the trench, lay the rose down and cover. Water it in and mulch when the ground freezes.

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