Hard Freezes - The Door to Winter!
by Dave Ingram, American Rose Society Master Rosarian
The first hard freezes of the fall are predicted to begin this Thursday night and continue each night through the weekend. Here are some tips on how to prepare your roses now, and what to watch for and do over the coming winter months.
The best tip is to deep water your gardens – not a fast flood, but rather a slow, thorough soak for all your landscape plants. Well hydrated plants and roots handle early freezes better than dry ones.
Tie up any loose climbing canes to prevent wind damage as the storm front moves through.
As fall continues, evaluate your yard for possible winter threats. In a very open yard, extreme wind can literally rock a rose bush out of the ground with broken roots. If this seems possible, try tying the bush to a stake for stability.
The NOAA is predicting a winter that is warmer than normal, with drought conditions that may worsen over what we’ve already experienced. That means winter watering – when needed – will be an important care element for all your plants, including your lawn.
A layer of mulch can help your garden hold moisture and regulate soil temperatures. As for winter protection of your more tender hybrid tea and floribunda roses, it’s still early for that. Let several early freezes slow their growth and cool the soil. In late November or early December, a mound of soil or mulch, or rose collars if you wish, can help the base of these roses survive the harsh conditions in the depths of winter. Leave this protection on until late April.
Above all, we wish you a safe, happy winter season. As always, if you have any rose questions, please reach out to our Consulting Rosarians, who are happy to answer them. You will find the list on our website at www.denverrosesociety.org.