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Rose collars, winter protection

Posted by gardenerzone4 4 (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 11, 11 at 8:42

Last year, I winter protected by piling shredded leaves on my roses. Problem was the mound would get eroded by wind and rain, and become packed down to the point where it wasn't providing much protection. This year, I want to try rose collars to contain the material.

My plan is to wait until after the ground freezes and the roses have lost majority of leaves, then to prune the canes down to a manageable length (16" or so) so I can put the collars on and pile in the mulch. I figure, any length above 16" would get winter-killed anyway, and the shorter the rose, the easier it is for me to pick up all the BS-ridden foliage around its base. Does this plan sound doable?

Also, for picking up BS foliage--would it work to use a leaf vacuum to suck it up? I'd rather not be on my hands and knees trying to sweep out the foliage if I can just suck it up. What should I spray on the ground and canes after leaf drop? (Is Chlorothalonil alone enough of a winter spray to kill the BS?)

To save money, I was thinking of making rose collars out of yard waste bags--1 whole bag folded from top to bottom and taped along edge. Those of you who have the commercial rose collars, does that sound like it would work?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Last winter, I used newspaper to make rose collars and it worked great. All my roses in the ground, and those in pots stored in the garage survived with these newspaper collars.

I got this idea from the following post. Check it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: make rose collars from newspaper


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

View1ny: I read about newspaper collars too, that's a great idea. The thermal insulation factor of newspaper is quite high.

gardenzone4: I printed out your list of 51 roses order in June, would you let me know how they survive the winter? Thanks, that will give me some ideas for my zone hardiness.

I'm 1 hour west of Chicago, and 1 hour south from Wisconsin. The norm here is -30 wind chill factor. In the past I covered my roses with 12" of tree bark and leaves. That didn't work, the wind here is too strong, and we don't have the blanket of snow like in Michigan.

I face the same issues as you do: 1) blackspot due to hot days, cold nights, and drizzling rain. 2) The freeze-thaw-ice problem, Chicago temp. can drop by 10 degrees in one day 3) Drying out of roots, our winter is dry compared to Michigan.

I solved the blackspot issue, my 10 Austins currently have zero blackspots: mulched with horse manure rather than tree bark, and dusted with cornmeal. Will post some pics by November.

I'll try the Wisconsin method this year: 1) Mound soil during the 1st week of November (or is it when the ground is frozen?) 2) water twice a month when it's above freezing - is this the best way to deal with dry roots?

To deal with the freeze-thaw-ice, I don't know what's best: horse manure first, then soil - or is it soil first, then horse manure on top for its salt and its decomposing heat?

A Rhode Island rose park successfully buried hundreds of roses in horse manure, only two didn't make it. Karl in zone 5a: I would like to learn from you regarding how to deal with freeze-thaw-ice problem. Thanks to all of you for helping me with growing roses in a tough climate.



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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Personally, I think the burying, digging of trenches, and other methods are a bit extreme and take all the fun out of growing roses. I do a little extra protection for winter, but nothing that involved. If the roses I have don't make it through the winter with minimal or no protection, then I probably shouldn't be growing it where I live.

While it's true that we do get some brutal wind chills during winter, I'd hesitate to call minus 30 the norm in Illinois. Wind chills are different from soil temp and typical air temperature, and while wind chills can affect the canes, I'm most worried about the crowns and roots surviving.

I didn't have any problems with a layer of leaf mulch blowing away last year because it was generally moist enough to stay in place. Also, nobody walks through the rose beds during winter, so nothing was smashed down or trod upon and it did not compact to the point of uselessness. It can help to put up a wall of chicken wire, or circle individual roses with it; this will hold in leaves more successfully than leaving them to blow around.

We use one of those $50 leaf collector/shredders in the fall. Shredded leaves go into the compost pile until it's time to spread them around. In the spring, we use the Shop Vac to remove all the shredded leaves. It's an easy task and takes less than 3 hours to mulch everything in the fall and clean it up in the spring.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Laura: -30 wind chill is the norm for Chicago, and NOT for Illinois. There's a big drop in temperature from zone 5a to 5b. I grew up near Grand Rapids, Michigan (zone 5b), and really miss the the mild zone 5b winter. In 1983, Chicago held the record of -82 wind chill factor when the temperature was -23 and 29 mph wind.

Fifteen years ago, I lost most of my hybrid teas through a hard winter (protected with 12" of mulch & leaves). I don't even want to do hybrid teas in Chicago area - the rose park nearby increased their shrubs and shrank their HTs' collection.


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RE: root-heaving in zone 4-5a

Gardenzone4: my 10 Austins are own-root like your 51 roses from RU. In zone 3-5a, there's the danger of heaving of roots, resulting in roots drying out. That's why the Wisconsin method of mounding soil on top is preferable. That book explains why own-root should NOT be planted deeply like grafted, and is better off with a soil mound in the winter.

Last winter was bad, my garden was dumped with 5' of snow. I had to fix my brick border since the plants and trees' roots heaved and messed up my bricks. My hydrangea was fine for over a decade, but the rootstock suckers this year.

After research, I'll do the mound soil first, then horse manure on top. Horse manure needs air to decompose and to give off heat. Potassium might help, since winterizing lawn fertilizer is high in potassium.

I did check on the time to winter protect: it's best after the ground has frozen.


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Before the ground freezes for young roses

I double-check again for the time of winterizing: After the ground has frozen for established shrubs, but for young own-root roses, it's after a killing frost, and BEFORE the ground freezes. Here's a reliable source from Ohio University Extension:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1205.html

I also checked past forum on winterizing: the mounding soil method up to 12" for zone 4 is best, to prevent pests and mice from nesting in there, and eat your rose for the winter.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

  • Posted by jim1961 z 5/6 central pa (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 11, 11 at 14:11

Paper yard waste bags? If so, they fall apart after getting wet.
I would not cut rose canes to 16" in the winter unless your bush is way to tall, then only cut back alittle. Major pruning jobs should be done in the Spring.
Leaves can be picked up by any means that work for you...


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Jim, you are right about NOT to prune until spring. David Austin catalog, on page 104, states: For cold winters, pruning should be delayed until spring growth is just starting. Repeat-flowering shrubs: cut down between 1/3 and 2/3 For HT and Floribunda: cut down harder between 1/2 to 3/4. Summer-prune in warm climate any spent-flowering shoots about 18" to encourage quick repeat and compact growth.

As to spraying the ground with fungicides, do it in the spring as Oklahoma University Extension recommends dusting the mulch with sulphur in the spring. I saw "Garden Dust" at Lowe's consisting of sulphur and copper. I didn't buy it, since I have zero blackspot.

Someone from zone 4 winterized her own-root Shakespeare by burying the whole plant with dirt. That's what I'll do with my 10 baby Austins. Last week we had to rush to HomeDepo to buy topsoils, since Walmart closed down their garden center.

Fifteen years ago, I mulched and winterized my HTs' with tree-bark. I had the worse blackspot in the fall, and again in the spring. Check out the forum "Suppression of pests and pathogens by soil bacteria and horse manure".


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

The USDA zone map says the average minimal winter temp for zone 5a is minus 15 to minus 20. For zone 5b, it's minus 10 to minus 15. A large portion of Chicago is actually zone 5b.

Sometimes we do get an outlier--a number or condition that falls WAY out of the norm. It's going to happen, but weirdness like that is the exception and not the rule, thank heavens!

Any clue on what the Chicago Botanical Garden does to protect their roses? I've been up there a few times and they don't seem to suffer much, if any, winter kill.


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Chicago lake-side effect

Laura: Chicago Botanical Garden has the benefit of "lake-side" effect, which makes the weather more temperate. They usually give 2 weather forcasts here: lake side, and local. I'm always jealous of the lake-side temps.

What really kills in my area 1 hour West of Chicago is the erratic and sudden temp. change, "freeze-thaw", and no blanket of snow to insulate. Last November we got winds gusting to 60 mph. I woke up with a tornado siren blasting, then hail and gusty wind. Chicago Botanical garden's temp. is moderated by the lake-side effect, and it does not have the crazy fluctuations of the tornado-valley, where temp. can drop 10 degrees in one day.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Yep, I understand what you mean. Nothing like confusing a poor little rose about what season it really is.

I remember in 2008 we had several 60-degree days in December, and a tornado warning the day after Christmas. I also had a bloom open on one rose. Very, very odd.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 12, 11 at 12:03

I never prune in the fall! You are going to get die back no matter what and if you cut them all down in the fall by spring, when you can see what actual damage you have, you'll end up with nothing but stubs. Unless something is very tall and will whip around in the wind leave it for spring. The very tall canes can be cut back to about 3 or 4 feet or tied securely to a stake for winter. Roses store energy in their canes, as well as their roots, for spring growth. Don't cut off any needed energy now. In the spring the rose will show you where and how far down it needs to be cut.

I have used gallon plastic milk jugs and old plastic flower pots as collars. For the milk jugs, cut out the bottom and then cut the curved section off the top and slit the side to put it around the rose then pack with leaves or whatever mulch you use. The old pots I just cut the bottoms off and then invert them over the rose and fill with mulch. To hold them in place you can dig in the bottom edge or put soil around them.


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Picking up BS foliage

I don't pick up any foliage, I make a mess. When I take roses inside for cut-flowers, I trim off all the leaves and throw at the bush, then I throw spent flowers on the ground, along with banana peels.

I checked my mess after rain, no blackspot on the leaves left on the ground. My logic: 1) there are at least 25 species of fungi growing on mulch - I don't have tree-bark mulch, so it's 25 LESS species to worry about. 2) the leaves and banana peels get dry out quickly 3) the mess is organic fertilizer for the soil.

My clay soil here is very high in potassium. It's known that plants deficient in potassium are more prone to blackspot. Banana peels are high in potassium, and they don't sprout mold in my compost pile like other stuff.

Horse manure has a good amount of potassium. My watering method is messy too: dump buckets of used water at the roses, and the horse manure splatters everywhere.

Fifteen years ago, in my old house 1/2 hour away - the soil was different: dark, loose, and high in nitrogen. We didn't have to fertilize the lawn, but my rose garden was plagued with blackspots.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Everyone, thanks for the info you provided.

I have access to horse manure too, but it's very weedy. A friend of mine has a pasture for horses, and after the Spring thaw, she collects the aged "road apples" for me. They're pure horse manure, no sawdust or straw mixed in. I usually bury them under plants I'm transplanting because they contain weed seeds.

Strawberry Hill, is the horse manure that you use as mulch around your roses pure road apples or is it mixed with bedding? Does it contain weed seeds? How do you deal with that? Or do you hot compost it first to get rid of weed seeds? I like the idea of mulching with manure, but can't fathom the incredible germination of weeds that I'd get!

Another idea a local friend of mine gave me is that instead of rose collars, I can surround roses with bags of leaves (like picked up curbside in autumn) so they form a bolster around the roses. Then I suppose I could pile in leaves in the center of the bolster. The bolster would stay put because it's heavy. It would also serve as a windbreak, insulation, and containment system for additionl pile-ons. Any thoughts/opinions on this method?


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

  • Posted by seil z6 MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 14, 11 at 10:59

I have two concerns about the bag method. First, those bags are going to disintegrate over winter and be one heck of a mess to get up in the spring. And second they could be too much insulation and the roses won't stay dormant. Oh, maybe a third, they're going to significantly reduce air flow and that may cause fungal problems or rot.


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Leaves get wet: fungal rot

Yup, I agree with Seil. Fifteen years ago I made the mistake of dumping tons of leaves on my rose bed. They rot, giving fungal problems in the spring. Oak leaves are OK, since they are drier (for Oak, it's 0.8 N, 0.35 P, and 0.15 K) For horse manure its 0.7 N, 0.25 P, and 0.77 K. You can see that phosphorus is higher in Oak, great for flowering. Horse manure is highest in potassium (0.77 K) among all the manures, which strengthens roses against diseases, and increases hardiness.

As to the time of winterizing, Ohio State University Extension wrote: "Hybrid Teas, grandifloras and floribundas should be protected from winter damage after a killing frost but before the soil freezes." This rule also applies to all young own-root roses, since they are not buried 4" down like grafted roses.

Roses Unlimited has this big warning on their website: ROSES ARE GREENHOUSE PLANTS, DO NOT SUBJECT THEM TO FREEZING. Own-root High Country Roses specifies: After the leaves begin to drop or night-time temp. are consistently below 30 degrees, pile soil, compost, or mulch 6 to 12" high around the base. If the winter is dry, water the roses about once a month.

As to horse manure, check the forum "Horse Patotee". The weeds can be killed if you suffocate the manure and weed seeds inside black plastic, under the hot sun for a few weeks. It gets hot in June, and you can cook them outside before mulching your roses. Rose Magazine advises skipping early spring fertilization (to prevent pests and diseases from a nitrogen boost). So if cook your manure before using it in June, you are OK.

My yellow clay soil is already high in potassium, but I like horse manure because it's the best mulch against weeds, dries faster after the rain - and looks better than those fungi-ridden, ugly tree bark mulch.


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Pure apples from horses' rear are best

I am laughing at the title, "Pure apples from horses' rear are best". Mine is mixed with straw and woodchips bedding, which is NOT good - because these stuff robs the soil of nitrogen. Most stable use lime to deodorize the stall, making the manure very alkaline 8-10 pH. Your pure apples won't have that problem. If you make apple-dumplings under the hot sun it should solve the weeds problem - LOL!


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

I disagree totally with the OSU statement. There's a lot of literature out there by local extensions and universities, but it does NOT trump what rose growers around you already know.

Mounding roses that early creates a lovely place for critters to burrow & destroy your roots. I think there have been several cautionary posts on here about that.

(Someone please correct me if I'm wrong....sometimes I suffer from blonde logic.)


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

I take Ohio State's info. as applied to own-root young roses, and NOT grafted ones buried 4" deep. I also take their info. to mean mounding soil at the base, rather than fluffy stuff on top for animals to nest.

It's known that established shrubs are best protected AFTER the ground has frozen (after repeated frosts, as Austin's catalog advised). So I'll protect my young own-root roses in 2 steps:

1) Mound soil up to 4" after the first killing frost.
2) Mound an additional layer of fluffy stuff (like horse manure in a bucket) after the ground has frozen.


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Chicago are weather

As strictly an observer on this site, I had to finally chime in. Strawberry, the "facts" that you cite for Chicago weather are very inaccurate and paints your situation as extreme, when it seems that your situation is your own doing. Since you like links so much, I will paste them here for you to review. I will include Chicago AND Rockford since some of us actually know the Chicago area.

I will also include information on Lake-Effect for you. As most of the country knows, this occurs on the EAST side of the lakes.

I don't have the die off that you seem to. I find it very easy to cover the base roughly 3" with newspaper which provides needed moisture in our extreme illinois freeze-thaws and warmth at the same time. I have several varieties and sure don't have the problems you have in extremely similar weather and location. Black-spot is also an occurence yet not often. I spray MAYBE twice in a year. I rather think of it like a headache, no matter what you do, it will happen.

The newspaper trick works for me and I got this information from this very forum some time ago. I have yet to lose anything.

There is an old acronym a teacher once told me:

K - Keep
I - It
S - Simple
S - ******

Here are the links below.

http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USIL0225 This is for Chicago

http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USIL1013 This is for Rockford

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake-effect_snow Take a guess.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Gardenzone4:
With the past exceptionally mild winter, I am sure your roses did just fine.

If you are in zone 4 though, as I am, although fifty miles north of here the below zero record is over ten degrees lower than here, here is one way to cover your roses that while not easier, has worked well for me, and my mother before me.
I lost most roses by uncovering too early.

Trim your roses down to ten to twelve inches.
You may pile soil around them ten to twelve inches if you wish.
While I only tried them and quit due to having to store and replace them, they wear out quickly, you could also put a cone around them (cut the top down to twelve inches, and pour soil inside, if you wish.

The most effective manner I found though that GREATLY reduces loss was I put a cover/s over the entire bed.
Car covers work best, but landscape fabric (Never, never, never, never use plastic) works well and is cheaper, and put leaves, I use Oak if possible, twelve to sixteen inches over the entire rose bed.

I pick ALL leaves off of the roses before I cover them, and use a wet-dry or shop vacuum to suck up dead rose leaves around the bushes.(I used a house vac one year but went through too many bags too quickly and they are no longer cheap)
I do not try to vacuum up every leaf in the bed as I would end up removing too much mulch. (I now use cocoa bean hulls, but if you can get or afford it, Eucalyptus mulch was the best I ever used)

I soak every bush with apprx. one-half gallon of Serenade solution to zap any infected leaves still on the ground.
I do not have disease problems in the spring.

I have for the past two years buried every bush, but I expected heavy below zero and you can bury them earlier than you can cover them.
It works very good but you have to have room and patience to do it.
Next fall I will simply cover them again.

If you do bury roses, attach a string, orange bailing twine works well, because you can forget just where they are or what direction they face.
One would not think so, but my soil though I left air gaps hoping that would indicate the location, simply looked like one flat black plain after I removed the cover. (I also covered the entire bed with a foot of leaves on top of the fabric, which were fairly easly to remove as after I forked off fifty percent, I simply grabbed the corners heaped the rest in the middle, and them grabbed all four corners and pulled the pile off.)

I do put a wire fence, three feet high, held in place with steel rods around the beds to keep the leaves from blowing away.
In the spring I roll the fence as tight as possible, apprx. three feet high by sixteen inches and stack it in a corner of the garage.
I have also used straw and or meadow hay bales to form a wall on the north side, to block the north wind.

Getting leaves for me has become much easier, although I still save leaves raked off of the lawn, I simply to to the city leaf pile, where they dump the ones vacuumed off of park lawn, and bag them.
I can fill a dozen bags in less than an hour, plus they are mostly Oak leaves.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 3, 12 at 10:57

Interesting methods, RpR. I never recommend pruning that low in the fall though. No matter what you are going to have some winter die back and if you cut them down to 8 inches in the fall by spring you'll only have stubs left to start out with. I think with the car cover you could still leave most of the length on them though. You will still lose some cane length but not all of it and you'll start out in the spring with more plant to work with.


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RE: Rose collars, winter protection

Hi folks

I missed this thread the first time around before I started posting, so I thought I'd chime in now. I'm the friend Mindy mentioned that puts the chopped off complete bags of leaves next to but not around the roses, and as a system it works for me and my 700 or so roses. I thought I'd add my 2 cents to Seil's concerns about the bag method, since they're all important issues for rose gardeners.

- First, I don't find that the bag disintegrates at all - in fact, I have some extra slices of bags from last year in unused parts of my garden that are perfectly intact, at least on the sides that hold the leaves (not on the bottom, which does sometimes start to disintegrate if moist).

- Secondly, everyone is totally right to be wary of protecting roses with any method too early in the season before the ground is fully frozen, because of rodents nesting in the material as well as risking the roses not getting or staying dormant. I wait till the ground is fully frozen - usually around Christmas or a few weeks before that - so the roots stay cold, not warm. The danger in Nebraska and many other highly changeable climates is that the roses here experience relatively long cycles of warming periods in January and February that might disrupt the dormancy, and the point of the protection (at least in my yard) is to temper only the extremes. The bags keep the worst of the winter winds away and encourage the frozen ground to stay relatively frozen throughout January and February, but I uncover when the roses start to leaf out no matter the calendar (like this year was 3 weeks early at least) to keep them from cankering in the now thawed ground.

- Third, I find that the bags are really helpful for me, not only in creating air circulation around the base of the plant itself, but also in keeping the main moisture away from the base of the plant. The paper bags are tough enough to keep even soggy maple and linden leaves contained in a solid frozen block of essentially ice that's a few inches away from the actual stem of any roses. I'd rather not collect those kinds of leaves, but when I poach 200 bags or more from neighbors, I can't be too picky (just no dog poop, please!!) I tend to fill in with my own oak leaves that I know will have a lot of air space and never get soggy, but that's only me. I consider these bags like little "down coats" for the roses, that create pockets of protected air around the roses that protect them like your coat protects you, even if it's not at all contacting your skin. The extra (still) air is a layer of protection too, in its way.

RpR has my admiration, as that method sounds waaaay harder than what I do - to create wire cages and protect each rose, though I do like the idea of making one giant breathable cover for the whole bed of roses. I saw Karl (RoseNut) years ago post something of the sort where he puts styrofoam or foamboard (or something light) edges around the bed and builds their own little winter garage, but anything that requires tools other than pruners or a watering can strikes me as "work" and roses are "fun".

One of the best things I like about my method is that uncovering the roses doubles as mulching the roses for the spring. Yes, I have to haul off about half of the leaves (which I do indeed lift off as a unit of sliced bag and dump in my wheelbarrow) but I have two neighbors who welcome them as free mulch for their vegetable beds in the spring. For me, if I bring the spring alfalfa and once-yearly fertilizer dose with me as I uncover the roses, every spring chore except for pruning gets done in one fell swoop. I like being a lazy gardener when I can be.

And yes, I consider this covering lazy. Once I've collected all the leaf bags (most of the month of November, a slow gardening month anyway), I can cover all 700 in 3 relatively leisurely weekend days. My all-time record speed was two years ago when we literally had 24 hours between 70 degree temperatures and 2 feet of snow that lasted all winter, and I covered all the roses in a day and a half, but I don't recommend that. Frankly, if I had consistent snow cover I don't think I'd cover the roses at all, since nature would insulate them in the easiest way possible and uncover them when the climate was right without any work on my part, but we rarely if ever keep consistent snow cover even long enough to cross-country ski on it.

Some time this fall, I'll post pictures if anyone is interested in trying this method, but everyone has their own techniques, and like our own planting formulas some of these are undoubtedly our personal (sometimes mythological I'm sure in my case) beliefs about what roses need, but they're at least derived from what works for us individually. For now, the Grinch poem elsewhere on the roses forum has my technique more or less laid out (if you can read between the rhyming lines).

Just my two cents from my experience!

Cynthia


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