Roses and frosts: how to preserve a rose garden in cold winters

Autumn pruning of roses: taking into account the variety

If pernepian or hybrid tea varieties of roses grow on your site, prune by 3-4 eyes. This short pruning of roses for the winter gives them the opportunity to grow better. But it will be enough to cut polyanthas by 2-3 eyes because of their tendency to send out their shoots as bushes. They must be cut off, leaving the strongest and youngest ones.

For red Bengal roses, on the contrary, short and medium pruning is not recommended. To make her feel good and not die, it is enough to trim only the smallest shoots. The ones left should have a sufficient number of buds.

Proper autumn pruning of roses ensures the necessary correspondence between the above-ground part of the plant and the root system. An imbalance can lead to malnutrition. If the root system cannot cope with the load, the plant begins to hurt.

There are bushing varieties of roses that send out flowering shoots, as well as those that do not bush enough and have single shoots. In such a case, the apical bud is pinched to form lateral shoots.

Types of shelter

Before covering the bushes, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of different types of covering material and the features of its use. Of all the things that can be used to insulate roses in the garden from frost for the winter, spruce branches, non-woven materials and sawdust are the most common.


Spruce branches (pine needle branches) are considered one of the best options for arranging a winter cover for a rose garden. It does not require any financial costs, it is installed very quickly and simply, creating optimal conditions for the plant itself.

When using spruce branches, you must follow several recommendations:

  • first it is laid in the trunk circle and under the branches before pinning them to the ground to provide protection from cold and moisture from below;
  • then the fully prepared bush is completely covered with coniferous branches on top;
  • For greater guarantee, you can lay a layer of non-woven material on top of the spruce branches, pressing it along the edges with something heavy.

With the onset of spring warmth, the top cover is raised, opening air access to the plant.

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Instead of non-woven material, you can additionally cover the rose from the cold with fallen snow for the winter. To do this, it is thrown on top of the spruce branches, forming a snowdrift. But this method is only suitable for regions with snowy winters and stable temperatures. With frequent thaws, such a snowdrift will constantly thaw, increasing the humidity under the cover, or become too compact, creating increased stress on the rose bush.


The most commonly used non-woven materials are agrofibre, mainly brands such as lutrasil and spunbond. With their help, you can not only reliably protect roses, but also provide an optimal microclimate under cover for the winter due to good air permeability, preventing the formation of condensation. Thanks to these qualities, shelters can be built even somewhat ahead of schedule, but only in one layer. After stable cooling, it is necessary to add another 2-3 layers, depending on the density of the material and the climate of the area.

The easiest way to cover with such materials is to lay them directly on top of the bushes and secure the edges with bricks or other heavy objects. But the best option is to install a so-called air-dry cover, which provides a stable temperature and good ventilation.

To do this, a frame is mounted above each plant from any available materials. Then they cover it with several layers of lutrasil or spunbond and secure the edges with staples or weights. In this case, the structure must be strong and exceed the dimensions of the bush.

To determine how to properly cover roses for the winter using non-woven materials, you need to take into account their varietal characteristics. The methods described above are suitable for most varieties, but other methods are used to protect dwarf and standard varieties:

  • for dwarf ones - plastic boxes or wicker baskets are best suited as a frame;
  • for standard ones - use jute bags with a cut bottom, which are put on the crown, tied at the bottom, covered with small spruce branches and tied at the top, and the trunk is wrapped in burlap.

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For additional protection, each structure is covered with lutrasil or spunbond.


Of all the possible shelter options, there is no simpler way than to sprinkle roses with sawdust for the winter. They are poured into the center of the base, forming a mound 25–30 cm high. Nothing else is required.

But this method only works well during snowy winters. If the branches bent to the ground remain bare, they will quickly die in severe frosts. But the base will not be damaged and with the onset of spring warmth, new shoots will grow from it. At the same time, it is extremely important to remove sawdust in time, otherwise the young shoots under them will smear.

To determine how and what is the best way to cover roses, you need to focus on the characteristics of the variety and type. But in any case, it should be borne in mind that damping off is just as harmful to rose bushes as freezing. Therefore, you need to either use “breathable” materials or leave an air space between the shelter and the plant.

You also need to know that not all varieties require shelter, and some can even be harmed due to excessive humidity. Therefore, before carrying out such work, it is important to clarify whether it is necessary to insulate the roses growing on the site for the winter.

The most frost-resistant varieties of crops, which do not require winter shelter in almost all regions except the most severe, include:

  • park;
  • wild roses.

All other types require appropriate preparation and insulation. But since active breeding work is being carried out today, when breeding roses it is necessary to take into account the individual varietal requirements of each plant for the winter season.

Wintering roses: everything you need

How plants will survive the winter depends on many factors: the degree of winter hardiness, climatic conditions, and method of shelter.

Park roses are considered the strongest and most suitable for wintering. Some do not need to be covered at all, while others can simply be bent to the ground.

But the popular hybrid tea roses are very vulnerable to cold and therefore do not have good winter hardiness. For them it is necessary to use reliable methods of shelter. Even temperatures as low as −10 C can destroy fragile flowers.

As for the climbing rose, it is more resistant to low temperatures. The whole difficulty of covering this variety is that for rich flowering next season it is very important to keep the shoots as they are, that is, for their entire length.

Polyantha roses and floribunda also need to be covered, although they are more resistant to both cold and dampness.

What types of roses require shelter for the winter?

When planning the shelter of garden roses, it is worth determining whether all types require radical insulation. It is worth noting that those plants that bloom once at the beginning of summer may not require winter insulation. After flowering, such bushes manage to form strong shoots with mature wood that are not afraid of frost.

The following types of garden roses can overwinter without shelter: park and Canadian.

A light cover is required for floribunda, polyanthus and miniature roses. For these plants, you can limit yourself to covering the root system and trunk at ground level.

Reliable insulation is necessary for non-winter-resistant types of roses, which include hybrid tea and climbing roses. In addition, you will need to cover the rose tree for the winter, taking care and precision, otherwise the crown branches manually grafted onto the trunk may break off.

Covering methods

Today there are many different ways to ensure a successful wintering of roses. The most popular is considered to be sprinkling with earth and tree leaves in a layer of 15 - 20 cm.

Climbing and standard roses bend to the ground. After this, they are covered with peat, spruce branches, leaves or roofing felt, although even such a covering does not guarantee ideal wintering of roses.

You can also use the air-dry method of covering. Its difference is that the insulation material used is located above the plant at a distance of 40–50 cm and is supported by special frames made of metal wire.

You can cover the rose from the second half of October. As soon as the first frost has passed, it is necessary to immediately prune heat-loving roses. Unripe shoots, tops (they are cut to 40 cm) and leaves, especially “sick” ones, must be removed.

It is also important to treat the plant with antifungal drugs and pest control agents, as well as hill up a little. Then a frame is placed, covered in 4 layers of any insulating material, maybe even paper. From above, the entire structure is covered with plastic film, well reinforced from below so that it is not torn off by gusty winds.

As an alternative to film, roofing felt can be used to cover the frame. To keep the heat inside well, it is advisable to spread raspberry trimmings and tomato tops on the film.

Climbing and standard roses do not need a frame. They are simply bent to the ground, laid on spruce branches, then a layer of 20 cm is also placed on top, then paper and film.

With the onset of spring, it is necessary to check how the wintering of the roses went. If the snow has already melted, it is advisable to remove the shelter. This must be done gradually, removing layer by layer. At night, when the ground has not yet warmed up enough and frost is possible, it is better to leave a shelter made of paper or spruce branches.

Preparing for winter

Ideally, you should start worrying about how to protect roses in winter at the end of summer. At this time, it is necessary to stop using nitrogenous fertilizers and apply only small doses of potassium fertilizers so that the stems and branches stop growing and begin to strengthen. Also, you should not loosen the soil, which provokes the formation of new shoots. In fact, shelter is the final stage of comprehensive preparation of plants for wintering. Before you build it, you need to properly trim and bend the stems, remove the leaves from them, hill up and treat the roses against diseases, providing protection for the winter, and only then cover them.


Almost all varieties must be pruned in the fall. Only climbing small-flowered, park and groundcover species can do without this procedure. Autumn pruning is performed to increase the immunity and frost resistance of this crop, as well as to promote more active development of young shoots and buds for the next year.

The procedure is included in the preparation for wintering of all bushes, regardless of age. At the same time, those parts that can provoke the development of infection are removed:

  • damaged, diseased and underdeveloped branches;
  • numerous lateral processes;
  • rough shoots older than 3 years;
  • flowers at any stage of flowering.

After pruning, 3–5 of the strongest stems should remain. Such plants are easier to cover and feel more comfortable.

Pre-winter pruning of rose bushes is carried out in compliance with the following rules:

  • the cut is made at an angle slightly above the bud that has not yet had time to germinate;
  • at the cut site the wood should be white and healthy;
  • use only very sharp and disinfected instruments;
  • work is carried out in dry sunny weather;
  • the cut is treated with garden varnish:
  • pruning should not be too strong - it is best if the projection of the remaining crown corresponds to the size of the root system, otherwise nutrition will be disrupted, which will lead to disease or even death of the plant.

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When carrying out the activity, be sure to take into account the varietal characteristics of a particular specimen.

Before covering climbing roses in the garden for the winter, they also remove all remaining flowers, fruits, damaged or diseased branches, so that the plants go to winter without those parts that can become sources of rot, fungus and pests. At the same time, the longest shoots are shortened, but not very much, since excessive pruning leads to the appearance of a large number of “empty” (non-flowering) shoots in the next season.

Crouching to the ground

Pruning does not always save the tops of the stems from freezing, so it is recommended to bend them to the ground and secure them with metal brackets. The stems are bent according to the following algorithm:

  • tie several pieces with artificial thread, which does not overheat;
  • bend it to the ground, fix it with long metal staples, not deepening them too much at first;
  • gradually the staples are pressed more and more into the soil, lowering the shoots until they lie on the ground;
  • the points of contact with the staples are protected with a piece of nylon or foam rubber;
  • spruce branches are placed under the branches so that they do not come into contact with the wet ground.

This procedure must be carried out before the onset of frost, since at sub-zero temperatures the shoots, especially those that are too thick, become brittle. In these cases, you should not apply excessive force, otherwise they may break. Their bending must be carried out in several stages:

  • first tilt slightly;
  • after a few days - a little more;
  • and so on until they touch the ground.

Another problem may arise if the branches are too elastic and are not fixed in a horizontal position with staples. Then they are pressed down with a board and some kind of load (stone, brick) is placed on top. This will not harm the shoots, but after a few days they will stop resisting and the structure can be removed, leaving only the staples. It is better to shorten those branches that do not give in at all to 40 cm and leave them alone.

Unusual varieties: David Austin roses with description and photo

Other events

In addition to pruning and bending, before covering the rose bush for the winter, a number of other procedures are performed:

  • Remove leaves, remaining flowers and fruits. If you do not remove all these plant debris, they will rot, becoming sources of infections and pests. To reduce stress for the plant, the activity is carried out in 2 stages - first the bottom is cleaned, and after a few days the top is cleaned. It is recommended not to tear off the leaves, but to trim them with sharp pruning shears to avoid injury to the stem. But if there are a lot of bushes and little time, then you can carefully tear them off without leaving a tear on the bark.
  • Remove debris from the tree trunk circle. The remaining grass is removed from under each rose bush, fallen leaves and other debris are raked out. All this can also become a breeding ground for fungi and pests.

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  • Treated against infections. Preventative treatment is carried out after removing all plant debris and debris. To do this, use a solution of ferrous sulfate (3%) or Bordeaux mixture (1%).
  • Spud up. A mound 25 cm high is formed around the root part of each plant to enhance protection from cold and retain air in the soil.

When performing all these activities, a logical sequence is observed. Trimming is usually carried out at the very beginning of work, and bending is carried out immediately before the shelter.

The next stage is spring pruning

I would like to mention one more point: it is important not only to cover the rose for the winter according to all the rules. It is also necessary to remove the covering material in a timely manner. Indeed, in most cases, roses tend to get warm in the spring, when gardeners think that all dangers have passed. If you notice that the temperature outside has become pleasingly constant at -3C, you can remove the roofing felt and film. All leaves from the bushes should be raked. To be on the safe side, you can leave an earthen mound for a while to protect the roses from the spring cold.

One legend says that God created roses, and Satan gave them thorns in order to create insurmountable difficulties in growing this beautiful flower. It turned out that a person can overcome anything, the main thing is to start acting and be decisive.

Preparing roses for winter

In fact, preparing roses for winter does not consist only of building a shelter; the start of these activities should be planned for August or the first half of September. At this time, they stop feeding roses with nitrogen fertilizers, which contribute to the growth of green mass and stimulate increased shoot growth. At the end of August and at the beginning of early autumn, rose bushes are fed with phosphorus-potassium compounds, which helps to stop the growth of shoots and increases the resistance of plants to the effects of cold.

The accumulation of nutrients can be stimulated by pinching the ends of the shoots. When the apical growth points are removed, the rose bush stops growing shoots, at which time the wood ripens and nutrients accumulate in it. When pinching is carried out, useful substances begin to accumulate not only in the crown of the bush, but also in the buds, which stimulates longer flowering next spring, and also affects the increase in the size of flowers.

In September, watering is reduced to a minimum; if the beginning of autumn is rainy, roses can live off the water obtained from precipitation. Dried flowers from bushes are not cut off, otherwise this may stimulate the growth of new shoots.

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