With such beautiful blooms, it is imperative that you properly winterize your rose bushes. You want to start preparing your rose bushes for winter during the fall, especially in very cold climates. Without this preparation, your rose bushes may not survive the winter. Read below for tips on how to properly winterize your rose bushes so they can be as healthy and beautiful as possible come spring.
In northern parts of the United States, stop fertilizing and deadheading your roses in late summer. Your goal is for your roses to harden off before winter frosts set in. Fertilization and deadheading encourage new growth which would make hardening impossible. This is probably the most important step in winterizing your roses, as late growth can spell doom for rose bushes. You can taper watering as cold weather approaches, but do not let your roses dry out. When too dry, roses become stressed and thus more susceptible to an injury during the winter. In the coldest regions of North America, you may want to tie up your roses and wrap them in burlap.
Knowing your species of rose bushes is also important before beginning to winterize them. Many types, like shrub roses, do not require much maintenance at all. Tender roses like grandifloras, on the other hand, require extensive winter protection. Among other things, tender roses need their graft union and roots protected from the cold winter temperatures. The cold temperatures can twist the graft union and break roots, so you want to mound your soil around the crown and stems at a depth of about a foot. This will act as insulation for the crown and roots, but make sure this mound is sloping down. This process can be completed in late fall. You can also pile dead leaves or straw as additional protection, particularly in colder regions.