Have your roses survived this COLD winter?

motherjan(z5 N.E. OHIO)February 25, 2014

I am in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area. The gentleman who is going to work my gardens was here to prune my roses...but he said.after looking at them closely that he is afraid I lost most of them because of the terrible winter we have had. He suggested we wait until they should bud to be sure. I have a lot of money tied up in them and are praying they will be ok.

Have any of you in zone 5 checked yours?

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I am not sure yet but some are not looking so well. :(

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 2:11PM
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I'm new to rose gardening but I would give them a chance. If they are own root or buried graft you got a good chance I think. But as I said I'm a newbie I'm sure the pros will respond. I have a lot of own root first winter bands in the ground so your not the only one. I can't even look. I still have 2 feet of snow cover. So good luck to all of us!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 2:15PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Unless Cleveland is considerably warmer than we are, it's too early to be doing serious pruning of roses yet. Usually we wait till the forsythia is blooming as a rule of thumb time to start pruning, though it's OK to cut off fully dead wood at any time before that. Pruning too soon can prompt premature growth in the live canes, and you can't tell what is really dead until the roses start to show live growth points some time in March usually (for us). Sometimes people starting too early can prune too much off that isn't dead then need to prune yet further as die-back continues in remaining cold temperatures.

Having said that, if someone has already pruned your roses they may have just cut off the obviously dead parts, and there's not necessarily any harm done. You want to make sure you don't prune off too close to the graft (the knobby part toward the base of the plant) if it's not an own-root plant, or you'll prune off the rose you want and just leave the root stock. The plan for you from now through the rest of spring is to watch the rose canes for new growth points starting anywhere on the cane and letting the rose tell you how much has survived the winters. If you've already pruned off the rest of the cane, there's less of a rush to prune back parts of the cane that are dead above the live growth, but if there is cane with dark brown center you'll want to prune that back or it can spread down to the healthy cane.

Bottom line is it's too early in zone 5 to know if your roses have survived or not, since they won't start actively growing for at least a month or two. I don't give up on roses until at least June, so keep them well watered and don't do any fertilizing till you see if you have active healthy growth. If these don't survive, you'll have learned something about types of roses that don't do well in your climate, and you can always log back on here to get some ideas of roses that do better in your zone.

Don't worry yet and remember to have fun and look forward to spring.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:13PM
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Susanne27(5a Ontario Canada)

I am in Ontario and am still under about 3 feet of snow so this isn't an issue for me yet. As Nippstress says, I wait until the snow is gone and the buds start to swell and then it becomes pretty evident what is alive and what is dead on the plant. I usually have to cut back pretty low in my climate, depending on the hardiness of the rose, but it is amazing how they spring back as soon as they get some warmth and rain.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:31PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Way too early to prune and even earlier to tell if they're dead or not. I don't know who your pruner is but I don't think he knows much about roses. If you still have snow cover there's no way of knowing what has survived below that. Many of your roses could still be alive under the snow. You don't want to prune anything off until they are clear of snow and growth buds have started to fatten. That's when you'll be able to tell what is dead and what is viable cane.

The forsythia rule of thumb is a good guide. If they are blooming it means the soil has warmed up enough for active growth to begin. You won't see any budding until that happens because the roots have to be able to supply water and nutrients to them to get them growing. Patience, spring will eventually come.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:43PM
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I sure am seeing a lot of Black canes! Not time to prune here in Louisville,KY., but I am not too optimistic. Lesley

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:32PM
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In NJ I've had the pleasure of being buried in both snow and ice after pouring rain soaked about 18 inches of snow covering my garden then froze solid.

So far, I have lost a Dream Come True and I have a Rio Samba that's showing a few blackened canes.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:04PM
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barefootgirl(z5b NE Ohio)

I'm in Akron and agree with previous posters -- too early to prune. Wait for the forsythia.

I'm hoping we may be OK because we've had a lot of snow cover. That helps insulate at least the lowest portion of the roses. We'll probably lose a lot of cane but they might come back from below the snow line.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:18PM
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Depends on so many things. I still have 18-24 inches of snow cover. Let spring thaw take care of that and hope for the best. Sometimes great things lurk under the snow! And it is way too early to prune. And even after I prune hard to the ground, thinking they are dead, I will be happily surprised by new growth in a few weeks. Think spring!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:55PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

I agree, too early to prune. I usually recommend pruning when the forsythia blooms, which is mid-March to early April here. Also too early for me to see if anything is really dead. I'll wait until the time I usually start seeing new growth (mid- to late March) to decide.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 8:32AM
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the_bustopher z6 MO

It is good to wait at least until the forsythias bloom, but out here it is good to wait until a little later because of the wild temperature fluctuations. I don't usually see that much damage from the winter per se, but I do see what happens with the result of the large temperature fluctuations that cause the plants to warm up, start the sap flow, and then a hard freeze. It happens in repeated cycles. That is what causes a lot of damage and death here.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 9:36AM
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Hi Motherjan,

I am also in NE Ohio - east of Cleveland. My husband & I looked at all of our roses over the weekend after most of the snow melted during our short "thaw". We did some winter protection with mulch in late Nov. Most all the roses at the bases showed green canes ( about 5-6 inches) above the mulch line. Everything else appeared to be brown or black. All the grafts were buried at least 2 inches below the soil line when they were planted. I guess we'll all have to wait until Spring to see what grows and what doesn't. Hope this helps some!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 10:37AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I normally begin pruning around this time of year. I checked my patio bed this morning and wasn't sure where to start.

I have little doubt that Tamara, Tiffany and The Mayflower (pictured bed) are alive and well beneath four feet of snow and ice.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 12:14PM
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I checked Golden Celebration, Julia Child and Peggy Martin yesterday and I think they're ok. GC and Julia were green all the way to the tips of their canes. PM doesn't look as well but I'm not sure as I'm new at this. In November I bought three nearly leafless David Austin's at a year-end sale. Is planting roses in late fall (in colder zones) generally considered a mistake? Anyway, Carding Mill made it, I think A Shropshire Lad is ok but Benjamin Britten looks pretty hopeless. BB was certainly the weakest plant and they were so cheap ($14 each) that I'm really not too disappointed. If I had to lose one that would be it.

Very pleasantly surprised overall as our area has had nighttime temps around -10 not once but several times this winter.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 3:45PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

If you had snow cover, then your roses will likely be ok. Here in Georgia, we had no snow cover, I don't usually bury my grafts or do winter protection so I think I may have many dead roses. Time will tell.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:23AM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

I agree with everyone's suggestion of "patience" and the fact that snow cover is far better than exposure to strong winds, cold temps and ice. Wait to see what happens as the weather changes.

I had a Tamora I adored but when it thawed last spring, I thought it was dead. I waited. Sure enough, Tamora sent up shoots from below ground (I bury the graft). So you never know. It's too early to give up.

Harryshoe ... love your photo!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 9:37AM
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daisyincrete Z10? 905feet/275 metres

Great photo Harryshoe. Brilliant.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 9:47AM
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UGH,,,,and more on the way!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:33PM
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it's way too early to know whether or not the roses in our region have made it. I would wait until April to check all of your roses.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:10PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I don't prune until late March or early April here in zone 6a.
I can't really tell yet how our roses are doing...
Later in March/April I should be able to tell...

Best of luck with yours!
Best of luck to everyone!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:11PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I think I want to add in here not to jump the gun on declaring roses dead even in April. Many times I've had roses that I was sure were dead in April when I pruned. Being basically lazy and not having anything to plant in their place I did not remove them right away. Come June when I got around to removing them I discovered they had begun to leaf out. And no, it wasn't root stock coming up either. Some roses are just late sleepers while others a raring to go. Snowfire was notoriously the last rose to leaf out in my garden, a good month behind all the others, every year. So be patient and if it's something you really love give it more time before you yank it. It's been a really hard winter and it may just take some of them a little longer to wake up.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:33PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Snow cover is great for plants. It will be even greater for those of us in the Northeast as we are expecting another 6-12" tomorrow.

Its so exciting. We could break the all-time record for snow accumulation!

I think the ground has been under snow since the first week of January. I'm starting to think that the snow will melt revealing blooming plants.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:14AM
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motherjan(z5 N.E. OHIO)

Thank you everyone for your responses. I'm afraid that here in N.E. Ohio we have had lots of snow, but then melted snow off and on and therefore I'm afraid it doesn't look good. I think those of you who have had CONSTANT snow will be in better shape than us. We have no choice but to wait until the forsythia blooms.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:35PM
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Enough snow has melted in my front yard that I was able to get to the bed this morning. Crown Princess has green canes, not all the way to the tip, but enough that I'm not too worried. The nameless lavender HT is green all the way to the tip, and I'll be asking for help soon with that one.

I keep saying to myself - it'll get here. One day, it'll be spring. And then I see the forecast - another foot???!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 5:50PM
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seil zone 6b MI

It is getting a little monotonous. I can hear something pelting the windows as I type this. It sounds a bit harder than snow flakes but they're predicting another 4 inches tonite for us too. We got up to about 30 today! A brief respite though because highs tomorrow and the rest of the week go right back down to the teens and single digits. But it's March! Things SHOULD start to get a little better soon, shouldn't they? Maybe if we all really send out some WARM positive energy we can break this cycle!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:40PM
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sc_gardener(zone 5)

8 degrees this morning in Chicago area. All the canes I see above the 1+ ft of snow still on the ground are black. Lowest actual temp here this winter was -22F. I have to see what is below the snow line.
However, it looks like some bunnies have been pruning the tips off the black caned roses for me:(

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 9:52AM
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brody36(8a PNW)

It looks like I lost double delight its canes are now black with no signs of life. It wasn't the healthiest plant when I got it and I then made the mistake of keeping it in a pot on a hot balcony, and it fried in the heat.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 3:37PM
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I am not too sure about my Harry Wheatcroft, and my Hypnotize really took a hit, but the other 15 are looking well! Good luck everyone!

Update: that was optimistic. I lost Harry and my Hypnotize, as well as Chihuly and Papageno. My JFK, Mr. Lincoln, Mardi Gras, and Ebb Tide are all looking sad but still there - I'm giving them time.

This post was edited by HollyKline on Sat, May 3, 14 at 10:18

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:47PM
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I am particularly worried about Nahema, Neal Marechal, champagne cocktail and climbing angel face. They're were planted as bands last summer. LATE.
Oh, and Pam's choice.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 8:09PM
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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

I'd be surprised if I lost any roses to the winter, but I did a little walkabout outside around the various garden beds yesterday and spring pruning will be a lot simpler this year.

Many varieties that have suffered little dieback in most of the past 5-10 years will need to be pruned to where the snowline or soil line is currently. Even some of the hardier varieties may have suffered more dieback than would normally be expected, but it is still a little too early to tell for sure. The exception here of course being the Explorer roses that simply laugh off the winters.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:21AM
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My Duchesse de Brabant in the ground seems to have bid her fairwell. All of her canes above ground are blackened. It survived last winter here beautifully without winter protection, but this winter apparently was too much for the duchesse. Have another one in a pot, which eems to have surived so far. Teas are not really suitable where I live, but, alas, don't we all want what we cannot have?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 12:44PM
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aviastar 7A Virginia

Got out into the yard today; our snow has been going ( still have one pile left) for about a week now and it hit 70 today!

I lost Night Light, but I thought that would happen anyway, she never took off. My other 4 one year old bands will need some tips pruned back but all of them have new buds starting, and much further up the canes than I thought they would! Hallelujah!

We've got another cold day in the forecast, but it's mixed in with mostly lovely temps- I think this might be the start of something!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 3:52PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Today was 62+ degrees... Tomorrow night they are calling for 16 degrees...The March temp roller coaster ride...lol

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:06PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Over these last few days, the hefty snowman next door shrunk to doll size. Today a genuine preview of Spring - caressing breeze, scent of warming earth, birdsong, Lenten roses blooming - wondrous! Knock on wood, so good so far, roses apparently unscathed. Here's hoping they look so well after the Spring freeze-thaw seesaw.
Best of luck to us all!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:56PM
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I have only 1 rose bush, for lack of room. It is Easy Does It, and I really think I hit a home run on the first pitch with this one. It is beautiful in the summer, actually kept blooming until November of last fall, and praise be, still has 90% green canes (now that the huge snowfall has finally melted away to the point I can see the bush!). I had put a layer of fallen leaves around its roots before the first frost and used some spare Adirondack fencing to make a little leaf corral around the base of the bush. I wonder if this helped.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:20AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Six and a half more inches yesterday! We are 3 inches short of our all time record high snow fall of 93.6 inches in te winter of 1880/81. Please tell me it's going to stop soon!!!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:01PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we broke another record low last night, -5!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:02PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Seil, time for you people to get with it! Signs of spring all around here and around a good portion of the country. So what is with your lingering winter/snow/cold in Michigan?

Actually, you have our deepest sympathies. It is so refreshing to smell spring air, see bright sunshine, and just have to throw on a lightweight sweatshirt jacket to go outside.

(The problem is--who knows how long it will last? We've had hard freezes as late as mid-April in this part of the country--on occasion!)


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:37PM
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My sympathy to all living in this region of horrific winter, and late freezes this year.I am so sad-I live right on the lakefront in a small ohio community south of you....My second rose bed(5-6 yr old plants) is nearest the brutul winds coming off the lake.
.I lost eight roses this year!! My most mature and beautiful rose, About Face included.Had searched for over four years to find "Amelia Earhart"-one died and my fingers crossed for the second..The constant freezing and thawing was soo bad that they were heaved out of the bed!! My more protected bed on the east side of the house lost none out of 14...
Only compensation is that I am getting a bit wiser and looking and both own-root, and the roses developed in Canada to replace...I WON"T be caught like this again!!!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:30AM
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I have lost two climbers that have been around for many years and another climber has a bit on one cane. There is some growth at the base of one of them.

I lost two hybrid teas that were right up next to the house, surprisingly. My many Austin roses are fine (the climber that still has a bit is a trained Austin Heritage). All my roses are at least 6 years old, many much older. I have never had this kind of loss!

It is now May 23 and I still haven't been able to bring myself to cut down all those big climber canes that haven't sprouted. What a bummer!

In southwestern Ontario, I'm in a zone 6. What a rotten winter! Mind you, my tulips and daffodils loved it. Anyone else from this kind of area have the same problems?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 10:31PM
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I lost three Knockouts. I'm no rose person ... the Knockouts worked well for me for 5-6 years, considering minimal fussing. Glorious last summer. Not sure what to try next. Small south facing bed surrounded by blacktop. Perfect micro-climate for tomatoes and peppers.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 11:48PM
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The majority of my roses are own root and are coming back from the roots just fine. The only ones I lost completely were the only two grafted roses I owned, a climbing I iceberg and molinuex. So as you can guess that is the only type of rose I am going to grow from now on! The roses that did the best without any protection or even mulch were crocus, crown princess marguerite and super Dorothy. These three came out of the winter with very little die back! The worst tragedy in my garden from the winter wasn't that my roses died back but I lost all of my lavender hedges. Oh well gives me a chance to fix the fences that they were growing around. I lost quite a few of my perennials but that gives me a chance to refresh my flower bed. Got to look on the bright side since I didn't get my spring flush this year

Grace e

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:14AM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

I'm a half hour north of Akron. I lost one knockout rose and have since replaced it. Otherwise, all the others are own root roses and even then I had to prune them to the ground, all except William Baffin who just laughed at the cold! My Westerland took a BIG hit and had to be severely pruned but he's still kicking! It will take quite some time for Westerland to grow back to where it was. Bummer... I will always protect during winter now! (I got lazy and didn't do it last winter so am paying the price)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 12:14PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Well here we are at the end of May and now I think I can safely report that I lost 60 roses out of 137. All but 5 of the ones I lost were planted in pots. In the past it was the potted ones that survived better than the ones in the ground. I don't know quite why this year took it's toll on the pots instead of the ones in the ground either. They were wrapped and packed in leaves just as well as always. Whereas NONE of the ones in the ground were protected at all and most of them survived, albeit cut nearly to the ground, but growing nicely now just the same. So I'm not sure protection made any difference.

And I wouldn't put all my money on own root plants either. The 5 in the ground that I lost were 4 own root minis and a Knock Out. And my biggest losses in the pots were all of my own root mini and miniflora show roses. The only mini that survived was X-Rated. Which is weird because it's NEVER been a very vigorous grower for me.

And then there are my seedlings. I lost all but 9 out of 78. And all of those are own root of course because they're from seed. So it wasn't protection or whether they were grafted or own root that made a difference as far as I can tell. Just the fickle finger of fate I think.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Information about how my roses survived the winter of 2014 has been added to my web page at:


Here is a link that might be useful: link for above

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:42PM
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We had a brutal winter and an ice storm that caused major damage on the tree canopy in my city. I lost a few perennials but my David Austin roses survived...well, I'm not sure about one, there has been a little growth at the base but it hasn't been able to catch up to her sisters. I haven't had the heart to give up on her yet:(

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:50PM
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I lost all my rose trees in pots, 36 of them! They were in a shed during the winter, and I lost about 25 roses in the garden, plus it was the worst winter for rabbit damage.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 11:56PM
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