Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Winterizing Roses

Garden Trivia Quiz: Last week´s question kept with the rose theme and asked what other fruiting plants were related to roses. The answer is below. This week´s question has to do with rose flower color. Roses do not bloom in what two colors? Good luck and don´t forget to e-mail me the answer at

Winterizing Roses: After dealing with diseases and Japanese beetles, one of the most asked questions about roses we get here a C´side is how to winter them over successfully. Roses can be a little tricky and even I lose one every so often. Winterizing roses actually begins when you first purchase your roses. Be sure to purchase roses that are hardy for your area, which in our case means Zone 4-5, depending on where you live. Even though we have encouraged you to fertilize frequently during the spring and summer growing months, stop fertilizing around August 1 or two months before the first frost date in your area. Growth that occurs after over fertilization will produce weak, spindly canes that will have a hard time surviving our winters. The canes need to have time to develop into thick, study stems. Finally, resist the urge to prune in the fall. The best way to winter over your roses is to use rose collars. These are plastic rings that go around the base of the plant and are back-filled with black dirt. Mound the dirt 6-12 inches over the base of the plant, then be sure to pull it away from the plant in the spring as the plants come out of dormancy. Spring is the best time to prune back the dead canes.

Shrub roses generally don´t need the rose collars and their growth habit makes it difficult to use them, anyway. Come spring prune back the dead wood and give them an over all shaping. They can be cut back to 12-18 inches, as can your hybrid teas.

The answer to last week´s trivia quiz: Raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries also are related to roses in the sub-family Rosoideae - (rose-OY-dee-ee).

Next week I will talk about companion planting with roses and I have picked up a few new ideas from a few gardens we visited on our trip to Spain.

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