Rose winter protection in our area

nhmom2fourOctober 2, 2009

Hi fellow garden lovers. I have lurked here for a while and this is my first time posting. I live in the Seacoast area of NH and last year before adding a garage to our house we had over 30 white pines removed from our one acre, in-town lot. I was inspired by suddenly having sun on my lot and last fall I started planting; last winter I spent reading garden books for the first time in my life; and since spring I have planted non-stop. I have developed a particular love for roses, and have planted two climbers (Red Blaze and Lunar Mist); Drift landscape roses; some miniatures; Abraham Darby; Betty Prior (my favorite); Europeana and more. My question is: Do you give your roses winter protection and if so, what? I have read a variety of protection methods and seen others in the garden center. I would hate to lose my roses to what looks like a very cold winter. Thanks! Barb

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asarum(z6 Boston)

Welcome! I didn't want your first post to go unanswered and get buried in a flurry of new postings.

I don't give my roses any winter protection except that I bring those I have planted in pots into my unheated garage for the winter. One of these roses is not hardy in my zone.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 1:16PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm in a warmer zone than you, 6b, and my roses don't need any special winter protection here. They're common hardy roses and easily handle my winters.

Hopefully Mad Gallica, who is a rosarian in zone 5, will visit and chime in. Or others in colder climes.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 4:48PM
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I try to plant my roses deep enough so the graft is covered, and all my gardens are covered with a couple of inches of mulch. I try to select varieties that have low incidence of disease so that the roses go into winter healthy, and I usually select varieties that are hardy to this area. I don't prune my roses until spring. Other than that I don't do anything - my garden tends towards survival of the fittest. We do usually have quite good snow cover which serves as natural mulch. I have lost one rose that was pushing the zone just a bit after that weird mild winter 2 years ago (though it might have been the voles chewing on the roots,) and I have one from a cutting from my grandfather's garden that also probably isn't quite hardy enough since it gets killed back most years pretty severely. Other than that, I have grown half a dozen or so roses that have done just fine over many years with no coddling.

If your roses aren't hardy enough for your zone, you probably want to protect them in such a way that there is something to screen out the critters who might like to nest in that nice cozy spot you have provided.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 7:47PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The problem with winter protection in the Northeast, is that whatever you use to help with the cold, can't hurt when it's 40°F and raining. I've been staying away from this thread because I've heard rumors that very sandy soil helps with winter protection, but since I've never personally dealt with anything that wasn't fairly heavy clay, I don't want to go there.

Given that I've seen a lot more winter damage from canker than cold, if it can't grow without winter protection, it's a lost cause.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 6:39AM
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I am also zone 5, in upper Litchfield County; my town is known as the icebox of CT. I have about 15 kinds of roses in my garden, but I choose quite carefully only roses -- and this goes for plants too -- that will really thrive here. That means hardy roses -- I'm a big fan of the Griffith Buck roses, developed for the prairies by Buck, a horticulturist at the U. of Iowa. Also there are the Explorer series of Canadian roses. Alas, David Austin roses have not fared well. I covet Abraham Darby, but he did not like me. Betty Prior is one tuf rose -- Martha Stewart has them along a seawall on her Long Island estate. They do fine, as do the Buck Carefrees. I mound leaf mold up around the crowns -- that's it. I think: It's better to pick varieties that can tolerate the clime we live in -- we're just not English gardens (at least I'm not). Why give yourself heartbreak when you can choose something else. That's just my opinion

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 6:00PM
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Thank you all for your advice. I have an Abraham Darby and we'll see how he does. I guess I'll go with the survival of the fittest idea. The biggest disappointment I've had since I got rid of the pines and started planting was the Big Daddy Hydrangea which died completely back and has since malingered all summer. I spent a lot of money on him as he was a big plant meant for the prime place by my breezeway walk but he looks SAD. My favorite greenhouse worker told me she doesn't carry them because she doesn't feel they are truly hardy here although they are sold for Zone 5. (I need to look up Griffith Buck roses!)

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 6:37PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Be very, very careful with the Buck roses. They are bred for the midwest, and that isn't where we live. Most of them need warmer summers than we get to regrow from the winterkill they usually get. Also, as a group, they are also not particularly disease resistant. I'd put Austin's truly hardy roses against Buck's any time, though it isn't what either really specialize in.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 9:13PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

The Hybrid Teas tend to be the most sensitive and require winter protection. I've had the best luck by far with English roses such as Abraham Darby. They don't usually need any winter protection. Many of them are vigorous growers and bounce back from any winterkill without a problem. In fact some of them are a little too vigorous and can become monsters in no time. A lot of the older roses tend to be the hardiest.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:54PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have two that are going into their third winter. One is a David Austin 'Golden Celebration' and the other is a florabunda called 'Rhapsody in Blue'. I have not offered them any protection and they seem to come through the winter fine here in zone 6a.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 8:16AM
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