Winter Protection

Winter protection is required in most parts of the country except for hardy Shrub roses .

Zones 2-4

Tender roses (Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Austins and Grandifloras) require layers of winter protection.

Around Thanksgiving cut canes back to about 70cm (28 in) and defoliate them.  Remove dead leaves from the bed. When the ground is at least partially frozen, place a collar around each bush and fill with dry soil and peat moss to a depth of 40-50cm (16-20 in.) Water well, then cover the mounds with straw, wood chips or similar material. This will cause the bushes to freeze and to stay frozen until spring, even in areas where Chinook winds are common.

Winter hardy roses should not be cut back in the fall.  For the first few years after planting mound up soil around the base of the bush.  That is all this type of rose needs for winter protection. In the spring, when the bush begins to leaf out again, any winter kill can be removed and the bush shaped if necessary.

Climbing roses (if tender) need to be removed from their supports, laid on the ground, pegged down and then covered with up to 30cm (12 in) of dry peat moss.  Do not cut the canes, if possible.

Zones 5-6

Cut canes back to about 70cm to 1m (28-40 in) to prevent them whipping about in the wind. (Canes of Climbers and large Shrub roses can be left as is.) Remove all dead leaves and any clippings from the bed. Bring soil to the beds and build mounds 20-30cm (8-12 in) high around each bush. When the  ground is frozen, place leaves or branches over the mounds for further protection.

Note that ALL newly planted roses in Zones 5-6 should receive some winter protection the first winter or two so that their roots can get established.

 Zones 7-9

Cut canes back to about 1-1.2m (3-4 ft) to prevent them from whipping about in the wind. Remove dead leaves from the bed. (Canes of Climbers and large Shrub roses can be left as is.) For tender cultivars, soil can be brought to the beds and mounded up around the canes, using newspaper collars, to a depth of 20-30cm (8 -12 in). Otherwise, winter protection is not usually necessary in Coastal B.C