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Ask the Gardener: How Do I Protect My Roses in the Winter?

Red Knockout Rose

How Do I Protect My Roses in the Winter?

Nothing brightens up a landscape like roses. For ornamental roses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area you can do several things:

  • Stop fertilizing and pruning around September 1st and leave the last of the blooms on to let them convert to hips (which are seed pods) This will advance them into dormancy.
  • After the first frost, thoroughly water the soil around your rose bush. Once the ground freezes the bush has to take care of itself, so give it a good soaking going into winter.
  • Remove all fallen leaves to prevent diseases and insects from overwintering.
  • After a couple of hard freezes, mound 6-12 inches of compost mulch around the crown of the plant, to protect the roots. Be sure to remove in the spring.

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