Winter is coming, and with it means it’s time to start performing some winterization maintenance to things like your garden and rose bushes. Proper rose bush care is crucial to ensure that they survive the harsh winter temperatures that we experience here in South Dakota. Some different types of rose bushes that need some winterization done to them include the Hybrid Tea, the Floribunda, the Grandiflora, the Miniature, the Shrub, and the Climbers and Ramblers. All rose types will need some care to ensure that they survive the winter and keep growing next spring and summer.
Rose bushes should not be fertilized past September 1st in the Black Hills area. This will allow them to start preparing for the winter season. As fall begins, the rose bushes should go full cycle and you should allow their petals to drop. This will allow the bushes to form hips or seed pods. This natural winterization step will allow the plant to prepare to go dormant for the winter.
Hold off on cutting back your plants until after a couple of very hard freezes. Once that happens, the energy of the plant will go into the root system, allowing it to be used next spring to bring it out of dormancy strong. Once a few hard freezes happen, which is usually around October 20-30th, start to prune your rose bushes to about 18-24 inches tall. It is important during your rose bush care that you not trim back climbers, large shrub roses, or landscape shrub roses on their own root, but remove remaining leaves and twiggy side growth.
The next step in winterization for your rose bushes is to spray the plant and ground with a dormant spray. This will help encourage them to go dormant if they are being stubborn. When all of the canes are dry, pull them together and tie them in a narrow column.
Finally, pile up loose soil from another area of your lawn to the base of the canes eight to nine inches deep. Then add some dry leaf mulch, pine needles, straw, or any other loose, dry, organic matter over the roses about a foot to a foot and a half deep.
This is the season for winterization of many things, and proper rose bush care is part of getting your yard and garden ready for the winter months. Stop in to see us if you have any questions or concerns about the care of your rose bushes.