In spring most gardeners prune, water, spray, weed and fertilize properly therefore winter is a much easier time on roses. If you were growing roses for cuttings, growing miniature roses, transplanting roses or simply enjoying your first year of rose gardening there are a few things to remember in winter. Many gardeners will try to prolong the time that roses will grow by covering plants when frost is predicted. Roses are annuals, and they need specific work prior to the winter coming in order for them to live through winter.
To keep rose bush care going and hips to form, deadhead your roses. Once winter sets in, the seeds will insure the next year’s blossoms and the plant will concentrate on storing food to live through the winter. There is no date to stop cutting roses off, you should use your best judgment and stop cutting roses off about 6 weeks from the first frost and decrease the water as they go dormant.
Once dormant, break out your rose gardening gloves and clean up any debris from the base including leaves and mulch. Rose gardening and caring for roses in general calls for this to be done so that no insect or diseases make their way into the area. Also do not use the debris for any compost on your roses the following year. Rose gardening entails pruning, even in winter. If they are exposed to areas where wind is high and there is no protection you should prune the roses to keep the plant from being uprooted by winds.
Winter mulching in your rose gardening area is essential. It is not to warm the roses, but to keep the graft union protected and keeping the roses dormant. You should allow the ground to freeze before you mulch and it keeps moles and mice from tunneling into the mulch you lay.
Organic rose gardening or just growing roses for cuttings, you will need to decide how to protect your roses for winter. Dirt covered with straw is not exactly ideal but will work if you have no other options. Rose domes made out of pressed paper or Styrofoam can be found. Some gardeners take cuttings into a greenhouse in case their bushes do not survive. The Minnesota Tip is used by many. This entails make a trench around the rose plant and loosening half the roots, then laying the roses into the trench. Cover with straw and natural soil and then when frost is gone stand the plant back up. This will keep the plant in dormancy but will also ensure it does not die over the winter.
Growing miniature roses or caring for knock out roses, you will generally see most plants are hardy. Those roses that have their own root instead of grafted will be hardier, as well as any grown in Pennsylvania. Knowing the type of roses you have prior to planting will help you to care for them before winter hits.