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Winterizing New Rose Bushes in Zone 6A

Hi all! I have just planted three new David Austin roses this spring. They have all taken in well and have bloomed several times. But now I’m thinking about what I need to do to ensure they have a safe winter. I’ve read articles that have recommended covering your rose bushes with leaves or some other light mulch to protect them in the winter. I’m curious if you all have some recommendations for what you do with your rose bushes. I’m in Central Ohio in zone 6a, so not super cold. But we have plenty of days in the 20s and can get down to negative temperatures at night a few times. Thanks!

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,626

    Hi Sarah.  This is a UK based forum with a few outside additions and which does things in centigrade.  i'm assuming your 20s are fahrenheit.

    I have recently moved form a garden in Belgium that regularly got to -15C in winters, though not the last couple of years, and some David Austin roses did well while others proved to be wussy and died or struggled.   Which ones have you bought?  Are they shrubs or climbers or ramblers?

    Either way, you should leave them alone now unless you have any any, whippy stems that need shortening by half to prevent wind rocking the roots loose.  You could also apply a thick mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure round the roots as long as the soil has had some good rain and isn't dry.  If it is forecast to get very cold you could cover them with a layer of horticultural fleece which allows in air. 

    Next spring, when frost is not forecast and assuming they are shrub roses, prune every stem back to a healthy, outward facing bud and give them a good feed of blood, fish and bone or specialist rose or tomato food.  If they are climbers or ramblers they need a different pruning regime.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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