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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Protect Roses Over Winter

Home Depot
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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: Varies


Protect roses by pruning

Beautiful rose bushes need some TLC to prepare them for a long winter’s nap. Healthy roses that have been prepped for the cold will emerge with beautiful blooms next spring. Even the hardiest roses will appreciate some extra protection.

Repeated freezing and thawing and temperature fluctuations can damage delicate roses. Safeguard your roses by applying winter protection, after the first frost but before the soil freezes solid.

Protect Roses From Winter Winds and Freezes:

  1. Cut back really long canes to 36” to keep them from becoming damaged by the wind.
  2. Snip off any remaining leaves, and rake up any fallen ones around the plant. Bag the leaves and throw them away. Do not compost. Rose leaves often harbor diseases that can linger in the soil.
  3. Water each plant deeply.
  4. Tie canes together with twine.
  5. Pile bagged topsoil or compost over and around rose canes 8”-10” high. Known as “hilling up,” this process insulates and protects the plant from freezes and thaws. Do not use garden soil.
  6. Cover the hill of soil with a layer of mulch, shredded leaves or straw after the first frost to keep the soil from washing away.
  7. Another way to protect hybrid teas and smaller shrubs is to pile leaves or straw in and around the canes, and then wrap with burlap and twine. Plastic rose covers are also available for this purpose.


Garden gloves made especially for roses have leather gauntlets that come almost to the elbow, protecting hands and arms from thorns as you work.

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