Roses are a beautiful, classic addition to your yard, but they require some TLC before winter hits. This is especially true in Douglas County, where temperatures routinely fall below -15 degrees Fahrenheit, and heavy snows are normal. Here’s how to ensure your rose bushes are ready to withstand the worst Colorado winters can throw at them.
1. Avoid Aggressive Trimming and Fertilizing
Both heavy pruning and fertilizing can trigger your bushes to start growing, which is the last thing you want right before winter. Instead, stop fertilizing in August. In September, trim back dead wood, diseased canes, and crossed branches.
In November, after the plant has gone dormant, you can trim back the rest of the plant until it’s four to five feet high. This reduces the risk that it will break under heavy snow.
If you have climbing roses, trim even less. Trim diseased canes, but nothing else. Instead, secure the canes to their support and wrap them with burlap in November.
2. Clean Up Debris
Roses can be messy. Once they’ve dropped their leaves, it’s best to collect the debris under the plant and compost it. The fallen leaves and other debris around the plant can harbor bugs, fungi, and other diseases. Removing them ensures your plant has the best chance for a strong start in the spring.
3. Water Well
Plants need water even if they’re about to go dormant. It’s a good idea to give your rose shrubs one last thorough watering after the first hard frost of the year but before the ground freezes. The best time for this is usually in late October. This may be the last time the plants get a real drink before the snow melts, so don’t skimp.
4. Apply Mulch
A good layer of clean mulch acts like a parka for delicate plants. With the temperatures common to Douglas County, Colorado, it’s best practice to pile at least six to eight inches of fresh mulch around the base of the plant before the snow flies. If your roses are exposed to the wind or if you’ve just gotten new landscaping, a foot of mulch is even better.
Your mulch pile should cover the roots and graft points on your shrubs, which are the most sensitive parts of the plant. You can use woodchips, chopped leaves, pine needles, or dry compost.
Update Your Landscaping for Colorado Winters
If you struggle to keep your roses alive over long winters, you may need to update your landscaping to suit your growing conditions. The experienced designers at Hall Landscape Contractors can help you design a garden that fits your tastes and yard. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you create a winterproof yard and rose garden in Colorado.