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Johnson County
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Olathe, KS 66061

(913) 715-7000
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Winter Care for Hybrid Tea and Shrub Roses

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Roses have long been garden favorites. They are truly a beautiful sight in the garden. Proper care year round is important for best growth, and putting them to rest for the winter in good shape is a must for success.

Hybrid tea roses. Hybrid tea roses, the gem of the garden, are not as durable as shrub roses. They are susceptible to summer diseases that can weaken plants. In order for this enduring plant to survive the winter conditions in good shape, several chores need to be done.

Sanitation is the first step in winter care. Remove all disease infected leaves from the plant and soil. Discard these in the trash. Do not compost.

Like the shrub types, hybrid teas require good soil moisture.

Unlike the shrubs, their roots and canes are not as winter hardy. Mulching of hybrid tea roses for winter protection is a must for good growth next year. Mulching tea roses involves protecting the graft union of the rootstock and named rose variety. This graft is normally just at, or below, the soil level. If the plant is killed at this junction, the desirable rose is lost.

The best and easiest way to protect the graft is with a mound of garden soil. The mound of soil should be 6 to 8 inches and poured in a cone shape right over the center of the plant. Soil for winter mulching should not come from the soil surrounding plant, as removing that soil will damage tender roots, weakening the plant. It is best to bring soil in from another part of the garden or purchase a bag of topsoil.

After a long winter’s rest, remove the soil mulch just before growth begins in the spring. Work the extra soil into low areas around the plant (be careful not to bury the plant too deeply with this additional soil) or place the extra soil in the garden.

Another good winter care practice is to reduce the height of tall rose canes. Hybrid teas should be cut back to about 24 inches. The rest of the pruning should be done in late winter or early spring after the dangers of a hard freeze is past. Shrub roses require little pruning, either in the fall or the spring.

Shrub roses. Shrub roses, which have gained in popularity, include many of the so-called old fashioned roses. The shrub roses are not fussy in terms of both their summer and winter care. These plants, for the most part are very winter hardy. Although little or no mulching for protection is needed, good soil moisture during winter is important for success. Water the plants, remove dead or diseased canes, and the plants are ready for a winter’s rest.

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