Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When Do I Winterize?

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Temperatures in North Carolina dipped into the 30's this past weekend.  With this drop in temps came multiple phone calls from rose gardeners asking what needs to be done this time of year to protect their roses.

Here in North Carolina we have a longer growing season than other parts of the country which means you might see blooms until late November if we're lucky; however, the bush will begin to defoliate this time of year and the frost might nip the edges of the blooms.  Even with the temperatures dropping as quickly as your rose's leaves, you will not need to winterize your roses until December!

That being said, now is an excellent time to begin thinking about winterizing and making preparations to cutback in December!

What is Winter Protection?

It consists of cutting back the roses to about 36" high and covering the center of the plant with mulch. This is done in early December after we have had several frosts and the roses have gone semi-dormant.

Why is it Important?

Winter protection is important even in North Carolina where the winters are generally mild.  I would think of winterizing as insurance for your roses.  

How Do I Winterize?

Cutting Back
  • Prune roses back to 36" high
  • Prevents breakage from snow and ice accumulations and winter winds

Mulching (Mounding)
  • Cover the graft union with 6-8" of pine or hardwood mulch
  • Insulates and prevents the graft from freezing or drying out

Things to Remember

Cutting back and mounding your roses should be done every year to protect them from possible cold damage.

Pine straw or leaves do not insulate as well as wood mulches so they are not recommended for winter protection.

Make sure your pruners are sharpened and are in great working order before you cutback.  This will make the job easier and safer for you.

While we are sad to see the growing season come to an end, we can get excited about giving our roses time to rest and recoup for the next season!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rose Garden Preparation in the Fall?

Prepare for your New Rose Garden in the Fall

Spiced cider, moonlit hayrides, and bonfires usher us into the time of year where the air is crisp and sweet as the season's apples.  Autumn weather also brings with it one last beautiful flush of roses.  When you are surrounded by blooms that rival spring's first blossoms, it is difficult to imagine what the next season will bring.  And even though the season is not quite over, now is the time to begin prepping your garden for next season.
So why is fall a good time to prepare your garden?  Besides the fact that fall weather is perfect for working outside, it is a good idea to prepare the bed with enough time for the soil to settle over winter.  By putting in a little hard work now, your yard will become a healthy, happy home for our new rose garden in the spring. 

How Do I Prepare?

Step 1

Choose a location where the rose garden will receive at least 6 hours of full sun a day, preferably morning sun, and is away from large trees or shrubs as the roots will leech all of the nutrients your roses need to thrive. 

Step 2

Remove sod if the area is new or clear an existing area of weeds, stumps, rocks, etc.

Step 3

Dig down 16 inches to turn the soil over.

Step 4 

If the area is a brand new area for planting, add 2 bags of Witherspoon Premium Planting Mix PER BUSH. (I know it seems like a lot, but this creates a nice loamy soil)  If the area has been conditioned before, you might be able to use less planting mix.  If you are unable to pick up Witherspoon's Premium Planting Mix, you can use a mixture of 50lb of composted cow manure, 1 bag of soil conditioner, and a 40lb bag of Permatill® for every 2 bushes.

Step 5  

Broadcast 3 cups of Witherspoon Essentials per bush over the entire bed.  If you are unable to pick up a bag of Witherspoon Essentials, use 1 cup each of Bone Meal, Lime, and Gypsum per bush.

Step 6  

Till the bed thoroughly to incorporate the soil amendments into your existing soil.  Over winter the soil will settle and your bed will be ready to welcome spring additions! 

Step 7

Sit back with an ice cold glass of water and the new Witherspoon Rose Catalog.  October is the best time to order bareroot roses for the following season. Why is that?  You will not have to worry about the rose you carefully selected from the catalog being sold out and you will also be able to take advantage of the early bird discount!

Enter the coupon code "EB2015" at checkout to receive 15% off your entire rose order of 6 or more roses now through January 31, 2015!