Preparing climbing roses for winter

COLNOctober 3, 2013

This was the first year I planted climbing roses. Winter is coming and I need to know how to care for them. Do I need to take them off the trellis and wrap them? Anything I should do?
Thank you

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cecily(7 VA)

Please tell us where you live and the name(s) of the roses. You may not need to do a thing.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 7:43AM
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I'm surprised there are not more interest in this thread. I'm in zone 4 and would like to know what to do with my long Henry Kelsey cane through the winter.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Sorry, double post.

This post was edited by A_Roy on Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 11:38

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:33AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

A_Roy, if it is in the way, get it out of the way.

If it is not in the way, ignore it.

Personally, I don't think there is much you can do for climbers to help them get through the winter. The preparation is done when selecting the varieties.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:01PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Coln and A Roy, knowing where you are and what roses they are is vitally important. We can't give you any kind of specific information without that data. If they are good hardy varieties for you zones they probably won't need much protection. If they aren't it's possible that no amount of protection will save them.

In general protecting the crown is the most important thing to save the variety. In cold zones they should be planted so that the graft or crown is buried 4 to 6 inches below the ground. If not they will need to be heavily mulched to protect them.

As for the canes it is possible to wrap the canes in burlap to protect them much like you see people do with some landscape shrubs. If you can get behind the trellis to secure the burlap you don't need to take them off of it. If not it's best to remove them from the trellis, bundle them together as best you can and then wrap them with the burlap and secure with string. I would then secure the entire bundle back unto the trellis to keep it from bang around in the wind all winter. Even with a burlap blanket, if the rose isn't hardy, the canes may not make it through the winter though.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 1:00PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

The reason no one has answered the original post is the lack of information in the post.

Although I am in a warmer zone where many climbers are hardy, I have a question about wrapping with burlap. Has there ever been a test to see if that does any good? I do know a little about thermodynamics, and I know that R1 or R2 insulation (which is about what we are talking about) would do no practical good unless there is a heat source inside. The temperature inside the burlap would be about the same as the air temperature.

I agree with mad_gallica, except there is one cultural practice that could make a big difference, provided the climber has flexible canes. That is to take the canes down, pin them close to the ground, and cover them. Then you have a heat source inside the insulation. (The earth is a heat source in winter.) Shovel some snow on top, and you will have moved the roses's winter climate two zones southward.

Of course it makes a lot more sense to plant varieties that are cane-hardy in your climate.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 2:38PM
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OK, the end of the Rose searson is approaching...I'm new to active rose cultivation and would like to be reminded how to prepair for winter (I'm even open to chastisement for my previous neglect of my DonJuan's). I have 3 or 4 DonJuan's that are old & almost dormant due to my neglect (I will do better, I promise!)...the beauty of this DonJuan rose is hard to describe if you haven't seen it.... This week I planted a couple of new DonJuan's along with a Peace climber plus 2 Mr Lincoln's, added 4 ArticFlame's, 2 AlmostBlack and one PopeStPaul-II, plus 2-yellow no-name's... I'd like to know if 2 or 3 inches as mulch for protection on the new plantings will protect them 'till spring - I'm in mid-NC (Durham) ?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:51PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Michael, I agree that the burlap doesn't keep them warmer. What I think it does do is hold moisture in and protects them from winds that can dry the canes out. As you said, the only way to keep them warmer is to provide a heat source. But in fact you really don't necessarily want to keep them warmer. They need to go dormant and stay dormant. However, keeping them from becoming desiccated is beneficial.

Mike, 2 to 3 inches is a start, and not knowing much about Durham's climate may be enough, but more would be better. I don't winter protect everything in the ground any more but if there is something new or one that I know is tender I pile on the mulch using something to hold it up and on if necessary. I like to try and go at least 6 inches and have done as high as a foot on a rose that I knew was weak. I've used old, broken plastic flower pots with the bottoms cut off and milk jugs, bottoms off and side slit to get it around the rose. Mounded soil works well and stays in place. Experiment with what you have to see what works best. But don't winter protect too soon. You have to be patient and wait for the weather and the roses to tell you when it's the right time. Some years I have done it in October because it was very cold very early. Other years I had to wait into December before the roses finally went dormant. The point of winter protection isn't to keep them warm it's to keep them evenly cold and dormant all winter and early spring through all the ups and downs of the temperatures until it really is spring for good.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:48AM
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