Fall Gardening -- Roses
Roses can still provide beautiful blooms in fall, depending on the weather. This year my rose bushes have had some of their best blooms in September and October. However, once we get past Halloween....it's time to make the first trim on the bushes.
November often brings gusty winds to the Pacific Northwest...as well as the large scale storms boasting winds 70 + mph! To keep my roses safely rooted in the ground, I trim them back to about two to three feet high. I would not recommend trimming lower than 2 feet as it can damage the rose bush in a freeze.
Another tip for keeping your roses healthy is to clean up any petals or leaves that are on the ground around the base of the plant. These leaves and petals can attract mold and disease that will live on the decaying material throughout the winter. If left lying around, it can spread to the new growth in the spring.
Lastly, protect the root ball. Place mulch or dirt around the root ball of the rose and mound the material up and around. The root ball of a rose bush is very sensitive to the cold and mounding the mulch or dirt around it will protect it from freezing.
If you have potted roses, be sure to trim them down and place some mulch around the base of the plant. If you don't have an mulch, wrap plastic bags around the base..something to cover up that root ball and protect it from a freeze. Also, if you move a potted plant closer in to the protection of a wall, be sure to water the plant throughout the winter. A weekly watering isn't necessary, but pick up the pace as spring approaches, or just move the rose back into the open after the threat of wicked winds is over (February).
When spring arrives and the threat of frost or freezing temps are over..that's the time to move the material off the rose's root ball so it can breath.
Happy Fall Gardening!