1. In early fall, stop cutting roses and let plants form hips (seedpods) as they prepare naturally for winter.
2. After the first frost in fall, protect plants from the potential damage caused by freezing and thawing cycles by piling soil over the base of the plant; cover the bud union and up to about 2 feet. Use fresh topsoil or compost, not soil scraped from around the plant.
Prune overly long canes on bush-type roses to prevent wind damage. Expect a certain amount of winter kill (when canes die as far back as the bud union). Plan to prune off dead canes in early spring.
3. After the first hard freeze, add mulch:Pile dry, shredded leaves or bark chips on the mounded soil. In spring, remove the leaves or bark and the pile of soil; spread the leaves and bark around the garden.
Extra-Cold Climate Instructions:
In areas where winter brings sub-zero temperatures and frigid, drying winds, take extra precautions to help your roses survive.
1. Wrap twine around the canes to hold them erect as you work. Use a garden fork to gently unearth the plant’s roots. Dig a trench to one side of the rose large enough to contain the height and width of the plant.
2. Gently tip the plant and lay it in the trench. Cover it with soil. Pile a 2-inch layer of shredded leaves on top of the soil. In early spring, carefully uncover the rose and replant it.