Climbing Roses

Climbing rose

Zone 5a | Anonymous added on June 13, 2017 | Answered

We bought 4 Don Juan roses in spring of 2014. Very pleased with them in every respect. Spring of 2015 all old canes dead but new growth above graft prolific. I had very heavily mounded leaf mulch around base and covered both sides of trellis with fabric. Fall of 2015 even more mulch around base and cloth completely covered full trellis. This spring again old canes dead and 3 of 4 new growth prolific. One I think is gone. When originally purchased, hardiness zone showed 4a - 9a and we live in 5a. This spring with further checking some sites show zone as 6b so now I don't know if we're in the wrong zone or if as I originally thought, I was not preparing them properly. Appreciate any help you can give Ray Kent

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 14, 2017

It sure sounds like you were doing the right things. I am in pretty much the same Zone as you and two of my Rosarian friends have Don Juans that are beautiful year in and out. So I do not think it is the zone. Take a look at the mulch you use, if it is a dark colored mulch use a lighter colored mulch. Take a look at the fabric you use to wrap them with. Here too if it is a dark fabric use a lighter fabric. The object of protection is to keep the rosebushes as cold as possible once the cold weather hits so that even on those crazy warm winter days and weeks the rosebushes do not get any ideas about getting their juices flowing to start to grow. If they get the idea to do so and freezing weather hits hard again, it will likely kill the rosebushes. Also with climbers be very sure that the canes you think look dead are truly dead. I have had new mid to late spring growth start coming forth out of some of the deadest looking canes I have ever seen and they produced nice buds and blooms! I give the rosebushes a watering or 2 or even 3 with water that has both a good root stimulator and a product called Super Thrive in it every year in early Spring. I also give my rosebushes Moo Poo tea several times during the growing season, sometimes with super thrive in it as well. Roses love kelp meal too, so I give all of mine a cup of kelp meal at least once per growing season. Using an organic or organic based fertilizer also helps to build the root zone home of the roses as well as boosts their hardiness. It does sound like you are doing things right, maybe just a couple little tweaks as I have mentioned and the rosebushes should respond nicely for you. Here are some links to articles on climbing rosebushes for you to check out as well, there is some helpful information in them:

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