As summer winds down, it’s time to start thinking about rose care for the fall. Already the days are growing shorter, the nights are becoming cooler, and the last blooms of summer have begun to fade. Ever the most popular flowering plant, vibrant, colorful roses bring us great joy all summer long. With the proper fall care, roses will successfully navigate winter’s perils and emerge in the spring, healthy and ready for another blooming season.
How to Prune Roses for Winter
Autumn marks the annual rose “mini pruning” season. Although major pruning takes place in spring, fall is the time to prepare your plants for potential frosts or freezes. Allow the last blossoms of summer to remain on the plant until it’s time to prune. Using a clean, sharp pair of bypass shears that are dedicated to rose plants only (to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of disease), remove the rose hips and cut back any long or damaged canes. This will protect the plants from breaking or splintering, and ensure the wind doesn’t snap off long stems. Take care not to prune heavily in the fall however, or you may risk significant damage to the plant in the event of a hard freeze.
Planting New Roses
Many experts and gardening aficionados alike believe that spring is the best time for planting new roses, however some people swear by planting in early fall. A long, warm autumn will allow the plant to get a head start on establishing its root system before dormancy. Talk with your experts at Millcreek Garden about what types of roses may be appropriate for planting in autumn. They can advise you about specifics for the care and nurturing of roses in your geographic area, and provide you with the right type of products to nourish a healthy plant.
Fertilizing and Preparing Roses for Winter
Stop fertilizing roses in the fall, as they will fare better in a frost or freeze if they’ve gone dormant. Remove any stray weeds and clean up around the base of the plant. Some experts believe that an application of granular potassium sulfate (potash) may help the plants withstand winter by increasing tolerance to cold. Mounding a shovelful or two of garden soil or mulch around the base will help protect the plant from an unexpected cold snap.
Take time this fall to give your roses the attention they need to stay healthy. Your reward will be vibrant plants that produce healthy blossoms all summer long. Autumn rose care is a simple and effective way to keep those beautiful roses blooming year after year.