Roses need protection from extremely cold winter weather. If the weather in your area does not get below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, winter protection is generally not needed. For everyone else, take heed. Cold temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, even for a short period, can kill your rose bushes. Preparing roses for winter, and those icy blasts, is a quick task.
Regardless of where you live, prune your bushes in the fall after the first hard freeze. Trim tea roses to 12 to 24 inches in height. Keep 5 to 7 sturdy canes. Cut back climbing roses as extensively as you want at this time. It is a good time to give them a good pruning to promote the strongest canes and to cut out some of the thinner ones.
If your cold temperatures can go from zero to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important to mound soil around the root of your plant. Mound garden soil up and around the root ball about four to six inches high in a pyramid fashion. This can be done any time before extremely cold weather arrives. In the spring, remove the soil from around the root ball.
If your area experiences weather below zero degrees, you should cover the entire plant. This works well for tea roses but is not practical for climbing roses. Use straw or dead leaves. A box or frame is often used to contain the straw or leaves. As spring arrives, this material can be removed or spread around the garden as mulch.
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