Q.Protecting our new roses and other plantings for winter…
We had some landscaping done about a month ago. There were Hydrangeas, arborvitaes, and some roses. The roses are still blooming. With the weather we have had here, near Chicago, we are worried about losing them in the spring. They are predicting a temp of 70 today, and 40’s tomorrow.
What can we do to keep roses healthy and safe until spring since it is already the end of November. Also, please let us know if the other plantings need additional help as well.
Thanks much, Stan Wieczorek
The plant roots will continue to settle into the soil after leaf drop. It is vital that the soil stay moist so water when the soil is dry (doesn't take much this time of year) until the ground freezes. Hybrid tea roses are more sensitive to cold than the new shrub roses. The American Rose Society has pages on winterizing the various rose types. This first winter and after the ground freezes, mulch the crown and root zone around the rose with about 6 inches of mulch. Shredded leaves are OK if mixed with small sticks and only 25% maple leaves. Maple leaves mat together and inhibit water and air flow. Remove mulch in early spring - early March in Chicago. For the hydrangea, keep watering when soil is dry. You shouldn't need a deep mulch layer - 3-4 inches is fine. If your hydrangea blooms on old wood, set plant stakes and wrap with burlap or other breathable fabric. In spring, examine your new plants for winter heaving and gently press them back down if this occurred. Heaving is more likely when there are many freezes and thaws and when roots aren't yet well established. For the evergreen, keep watering until soil freezes and apply 3-4 inches of mulch to root zone. Your plants should be fine.