Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I protect my roses in winter?

The first step to avoid winter injury to roses is to keep them healthy during the growing season. Roses that have been fertilized and sprayed for insects and diseases are more likely to escape winter injury than plants that have lost their leaves early in fall due to disease, insects, or nutrient deficiencies.

Roses need protection not only from low winter temperatures but also from fluctuating temperatures. Begin winter protection when the ground begins to freeze and the roses are dormant. (This date will vary widely from year to year.) Bring in soil from another part of the garden and pile it 8 to 10 inches high around the canes. If you dig the soil from the rose beds you may injure the roots of the rose plants. After mounding soil around the canes, tie tall canes together or remove the top 1/3 of the canes to keep the wind from blowing the canes about and loosing the root system.

When the ground freezes, place 4-5 inches of straw or leaf mulch over the mounds to keep the ground frozen and at a constant temperature.

When the weather warms in the spring, gradually remove the mulch, but be ready to replace it if a cold snap is predicted. Just before growth begins, remove the soil. Keep mulch near by to use for protection if a late frost threatens the new tender growth.