Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Here is some advice from our staff rosarian, Stan.
Roses are hardy plants with only hybrid tea roses needing winter protection. Winter prep starts by withholding fertilizer and not dead-heading after Labor Day so the shrub can gradually shift from flower production to winter prep. No pruning is necessary for shrub roses at this time; always remove dead, diseased or damaged canes as soon as noticed. (Grandiflora roses may require height reduction if in an exposed, windy site.) Water if soil is dry all the way through December: plants that dry out are more susceptible to winter kill. After leaf fall, clean up and remove all plant debris. After the ground freezes, loose mulch may be applied over the crown but this is not necessary except for hybrid tea roses (or if you are on the northern edge of a plant's hardiness zone). Straw, shredded wood mulch and leaves that have been mowed over are good choices. Remove the crown mulch in early spring.