Frozen Roses

JoshTx(8a)December 10, 2013

DFW has been sitting in an ice storm all weekend long. We got bit Thursday night and it's just now starting to thaw. Some of the roses froze, though mostly Austins. Any chance they'll survive?


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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I think they will survive. Its always alarming to see frozen plants (I remember the frequent thaw-freeze patterns from when I lived in west Texas years ago), but the roots are usually still in good shape and will grow in the spring--though the rose may be shorter than usual.

I often worry when we have storms here since I do not put out protection around my roses, but I have never lost a rose to winter weather yet, although I've lost a couple to hot mid-summer droughts! : (

You could run the hose spray over them if the temp is scheduled to get back to or above freezing. Thaw them out quicker that way.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 2:50AM
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Don't give them up for lost: roses are tough. It's better if they've been in the ground a few years and are vigorous plants, but in any case wait and see what happens. Don't schedule any funerals yet.
I hear you folks have had some awful weather. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:13AM
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Hi JoshTX. I live in Joshua TX. Just a bit of reassurance. I have lived here for 5 years and my roses came back from the big freeze of 2010. Some of them were newly planted. It is even more reassuring if they have at least 2 inches of organic mulch over their roots. I also lived in the UK and saw roses endure some long frosts. Sit tight and get ready to enjoy them next Spring. All of the best.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 9:58AM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Same here. My roses shrug off the ice. The only adverse affect I've seen is where the ice is too heavy and a branch breaks. Same thing that happens to the trees. Lots of the trees on my street have branches down.

My roses that had so much ice that they were bent over double have sprung back already, but I'm a little south of you I think. I-20 had much more ice this morning than Waxahachie does. Ours mostly melted Sat and Sun. Still some patches in the shade, but the ground wasn't frozen deeply enough to have an effect on the roots. Lou

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 12:28PM
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ms. violet grey

Don't you think it is amazing that roses are not delicate nor fragile?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 12:58PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I live in Tulsa, and if I try to reassure you, mine might die. I do not think I ever have trouble with roses because of ice if I planted them in the spring.

Our worse problem, and possibly yours is a sudden freeze after they begin growing in the spring.

The one rose that is an exception is Mrs. B.R. Cant. I have given up on her.

Also, I only grown own root roses. I am not sure about grafted ones.

I think you will be fine.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:05PM
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seil zone 6b MI

They'll be fine. Unless you have some varieties, like Teas, Noisettes and Chinas, that don't do well in very cold climates your roses will live. And even those may make it through with only some cane damage if it isn't prolonged or repeated.

Actually that ice covering can be protective in a manner because it keeps them from dehydrating in high winds and freezing temps. A lot of times citrus growers will spray their crops with water to create that ice coating to protect them. I would just leave them alone and let it melt on it's own. Trying to get it off may do more damage than good.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:46PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Seil, I only grow teas, chinas, noisettes, bourbons, and a few others. They problem comes in the spring when we prune. I usually prune twice. The first time I prune to reduce the height of the roses. The second time once the rose has really begun to grow, I prune as low as I need to so that I can remove questionable canes.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 3:51PM
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Thanks for all the responses everyone!

Mrs. B. R. Cant is one roses that suffered a freeze. The others look okay, but she is looking a little shocked. We'll see how she does. I hope the Gallicas and the Mosses appreciated all the cold! Ratdoghead's 'Baboosic Rose' is currently sitting there encased in ice. Looks like it'll get enough winter chill to push it through another season.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 4:34PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Sammy, I don't know anything about pruning Teas, Noisettes and Chinas because I really can't grow them here. Those three classes in particular are considered evergreen and not known to be cold hardy so of any of the roses they'll take the hardest hit. I am currently experimenting with wintering them and will see next spring how they fared. Of course, wouldn't you know it, we're having a really COLD winter this year! But I have them very well protected and hope for the best.

Josh, I see the Mrs. is growing in several zone 7, a couple of zone 6 and even one zone 5 garden. She should recover. And see now, there is a silver lining to every thing! Your cold zone roses are loving this, lol!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 5:02PM
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I have high hopes for your Teas and Chinas! You've got some tough varieties. I would be seriously surprised if Duchesse de Brabant croaked.

Silver lining indeed! The absurd thought crossed my mind to set them out so they would get frozen. Being as they are young, though, I decided against it. Ha.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Sometimes I wish we had good freezes so I could grow the old European varieties, but then I remember winter in Chicago and promptly forget about that nonsense.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Poor roses! Does that happen often?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Not usually! The Farmer's Almanac says it will be an unusually icy winter so we may see more of it.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 10:14PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Josh, we have your freeze now. It came in Thursday night, and is still here. My roses are getting lower and lower. It is so ugly. I tried to reassure you, but now I am not so sure about myself. I do not remember this long of a freeze.

Many trees have limbs that have not only broken, but have torn down the trunk of the tree. As much as I hate what has happened to my roses, the sight of the trees in our neighborhood is really gruesome. We need a day for it to warm up.

Snow does not do this, but ice is terrible.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:11PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Sammy, keep the faith! Be patient and wait for it to melt off on it's own. I think it's the best you can do for them right now. Roses are survivors and I think they'll be fine.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:24PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Yup--my roses look just like Josh's picture now--ice roses. In fact, everything out there is covered in ice. Yes, lots of broken branches and even split trees from this ice assault.

It truly is amazing to think that roses can survive all this.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Hey, Josh!

That was quite an ice storm you weathered in early December! I've been back and forth (more forth than back) assisting my sister with the care of our remaining three elderly relatives in Dallas. Thank goodness my last flight was booked on Southwest and not American or I'd never have arrived in time to help my sister drag gargantuan limbs off the roof and report icky sewer breaks. (A photo of her back yard is attached.)

Regarding your rosicles, here are my two cents. I wouldn't worry. I'm betting big that they're survivors. Every rose my family or I grew in N. TX shook off the effects of ice, snow, dry wind, and Blue Northerns in addition to blazing hot summers, occasional flooding, and caliche beds. In my Dallas experience, it's DRY cold that kills a rose. Keep the soil around the rose watered during cold, dry spells and you should be good to go.

Homespun tip: my mom used to thrown old cotton sheets over her polyanthas, floribundas and hybrid teas when the forecast predicted a cold snap. Remove at thaw. Thank goodness my sister's Garden Aesthetics Patrol wasn't on duty in Mom's neighborhood!

Your rose on the last posting seems to be in a plastic pot which makes for fairly effective insulation, and I'm guessing, as others did, that the foliage damage is frost damage. I saw new, healthy, red shoots. When growing roses in clay pots, I often encase the outside with bubble wrap and stuff nonrecyclable plastic bags between the pot feet if the weather turns nasty. Yes, the Garden Patrol would have my head on a platter, too.

Stay warm and have a great holiday, Josh!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 4:38PM
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I concur that this ice storm was something uglier than I've seen. We had trees downed too, split in half by the weight of the ice. My roses miraculously survived, even my tiny one gallon teas. Hang in there! I understand the brutality of that storm system. And try not to let the cabin fever get to ya!


Thank you! Good to hear from someone so close to my area. I got concerned only recently, as after the ice the rose seemed to start growing then turned nasty looking. I presume it is just the frost damage catching up to it.

Stay safe flying in and out!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 6:17PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Freezing temperatures above 27 and ice per se have no effect on roses other than the weight of the ice bending and breaking some stems. Temperatures between 15 and 27 will kill or injure soft new growth but not somewhat hardened canes, so there is no real harm to the plants. Fully hardened canes are good down to 10 F for very tender varieties or perhaps -30 for the hardiest kinds.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 1:26PM
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