Saturday, February 17, 2018

Keeping Roses Healthy During Winter

Rose canes greening up in Lakewood - January 22, 2018

Have you taken a look at your roses lately? This warm winter has created conditions for the canes to green up very early. It’s way too early to prune them! Instead, check to make sure your mulch layer is still intact, and add more if you’ve lost some to wind or critters.

The following information from the Denver Rose Society gives tips on rose care during these late winter months.

January and February
Check garden soil moisture levels 3-4 inches deep. Snow covered or frozen ground is fine, but if soil is workable and dry, then deep water when the daytime temperature will remain above 45 degrees for several hours. Water slowly so that it soaks 8-12 inches into the soil. Roses should have 4-8 inches of winter protection (mulch) to prevent repeated thawing and freezing.

You can also use Christmas tree branches and burlap to protect the roses from drying winds. If starting a new rose bed, and you did not prepare the area the previous fall, amend soil as soon as the ground is workable. Consider raised beds if drainage is a problem.

In March when the soil is workable, bare root roses can be planted. Existing roses may also be transplanted with less shock. Remember to update rose bed maps with names of newly planted bushes and consider having garden labels made for them.

Deep water when necessary - but don’t overwater. Keep winter protection on. Roses should stay as dormant as possible, despite temperature swings. Clean rose beds, remove old leaves, trash and other debris.

Take an inventory of supplies and tools. Purchase new pruners, you are worth the price of good ones. Stock up on fertilizer and any supplies you might require for pest management.Get ready for the growing season!

For more information: A Rose Growing Calendar for Colorado and the Front Range