How to Winterize Climbing Roses


Winterizing your roses is an essential part of maintenance and helps ensure healthy, vigorous growth over the years. There are a number of steps you can take to help your roses survive the long, cold days of winter, long before the first winter wind blows.

Winterize Your Climbing Roses on the Ground

  • Look under the rose bushes and uproot any little canes that are sprouting uncontrolled. Remove any dead, fallen leaves around the roses.

  • Remove your climbers from the trellis or other support and lay them flat along the ground.

  • Cover them with about three to four inches of soil and leave them for the duration of winter. Protect and insulate the rose canes by adding a layer of mulch.

  • Re-attach the climbing roses back to their support in the spring.

Winterize Your Climbing Roses on Their Support

  • Bundle the canes of your rose climber and tie them with a heavy twine. Be sure to purchase twine that is made specifically for this purpose from your local nursery or garden section of a department store. Run the twine around the entire group of stalks, encircling the outer stalks to keep them closely and securely pulled in.

  • Remove any dead, fallen leaves around the roses. Collect some dirt from a different location and heap it around the roots of the rose bushes to build a mound of soil 8 to 12 inches high. This helps to protect the roots through the long cold winter by providing extra insulation from the freezing temperatures.

  • Cover the ground around your rose bushes roots with peat moss or another medium-weight filler. Although you may be tempted to use leaves or pine straw from your yard, this is not recommended. Leaves, in particular, tend to hold moisture from rain and snow, encouraging mold and the growth of fungi. In the spring, you will simply spread this cover around the garden and you will have a good layer of mulch.

  • Place evergreen branches strategically around the rose bushes, forming a tent shape. Wrap burlap sacks over and around the bushes. Use more twine to secure the burlap around the bushes.

  • Construct a chicken wire "fence" around your rose bushes about one foot away from the actual limbs. Fill up the space between the chicken wire and the rose bushes with organic materials. This serves to block and insulate against the frost and bitter cold air of the winter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Non-hardy climbing roses, in particular, need protection form harsh winter conditions.

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