Your Guide To Winter Rose Protection by Deb Kaiser

Let It Snow | Snow Provides Isolation for Roses

Winter in Minnesota is a force to be reckoned with. Rose Specialist of the Munsinger & Clemens Gardens St. Cloud, Minnesota, Ms. Deb Kaiser, has found a kinder gentler way to wrap it up. The following is a Guest Post by Deb Kaiser reposted by popular request. Deb talks about winter protection for roses in just about every zone, from cold hardy roses needing little to no cold weather protection to, Minnesota tipping, the most radical form of protection I know; so grab a cup of herbal tea and start a warm fire in the fire place and choose the best method to protect your roses for winter.  

Rose Specialist Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, Deb Kaiser
Rose Specialist Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, Deb Kaiser | Expert on Construction Blanket Cold Weather Rose Care Along With Jack Falker, The Minnesota Rose Gardener

Winter Rose Protection With Construction Blankets

by Deb Kaiser, Rose Specialist

With cooler weather in the forecast I have started to prepare my home rose garden, and the public rose garden that I work for, ready for what might be an early winter. In late August, I stopped fertilizing the roses with nitrogen. I deadheaded the shrub roses one last time. Now, I am letting them form rose hips and harden off for the winter. We have had lots of heavy rain this season. Much of it has been at night and our weather has been cooler, so blackspot has been a problem. I will continue to spray the roses every 2 weeks with a systemic fungicide Honor Guard (a generic for BannerMaxx) and Manzate fungicide both of which I purchase from Amazon

Jack Falker | The Minnesota Rose Gardener | Assisting Deb Kaiser With the Project
Jack Falker | The Minnesota Rose Gardener

So what can we do to help protect them from early winter temperatures and winds? One of the things that I am starting to do now is to feed the roses potassium, as a drench. I am following the recommendations of Twin Cities Rose Club member, Minnesota Rose Gardener, Jack Falker. Please see Jack’s August & October 2012 blogs on the potassium feast for roses at http://jack-rosarian.blogspot.com.

Good winter protection methods are a must for zone 3 and 4 Minnesota winters. There are three main functions of winter protection – to keep the temperature high enough to prevent winter kill, to keep the temperature low enough to keep the roses dormant, and to protect the roses from drying and withering of canes caused by winter sun and wind. So what roses need winter protection? I winter protect all tender roses that are not hardy to zone 3.

Which roses to protect and the winter protection method to use depend on the degree of hardiness of the variety of rose.

Easy Elegance 'Sunrise Sunset Rose'
Easy Elegance ‘Sunrise Sunset Rose’ introduced at the IGC Show in Chicago

Cold Hardy Varieties

There are many cold hardy varieties of old garden and shrub roses that need no additional cover. They include albas, centifolias, damasks, gallicas, species roses, rugosas, Explorers, Parkland, some Buck Roses, and most Bailey’s Easy Elegance roses. There are varying degrees of hardiness within the cold hardy roses. Tip hardiness is where there is minimal winter dieback out to the tips of the rose canes. My Jens Munk and John Davis shrub roses always come to mind when I talk about tip hardy roses. These two roses require no cover. Their long canes can be seen sticking out of the snow banks. In the spring, they are the first of my shrub roses to leaf out. Crown hardiness is when the rose dies back to the ground. In spring, the plant sends out new shoots at ground level. Addendum: ‘Polar Express Sunbelt’ Winner of Biltmore Rose Trials 2016

'Polar Express™ Sunbelt®' Rose Arborose® Collection | Single bloom shot taken of winning shrub Sunday, September 26, 2016
Spray of ‘Polar Expressâ„¢ Sunbelt®’ Rose Arborose® Collection shot taken of winning shrub Sunday, September 26, 2016

My Bailey’s Easy Elegance roses may do this. There are varying degrees of hardiness in between. With good mulch and snow cover, most of my Easy Elegance and Northern Accents roses die back to somewhere between tip and ground levels.Which roses to protect and the winter protection method to use depend on the degree of hardiness of the variety of rose.

Crown hardy roses need some mulch or other cover such as soil and leaves or marsh hay. Tender roses such as non-hardy (zone 5 and higher shrubs), hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, minifloras, and miniatures need a good winter protection method.

'Double Delight' hybrid tea rose, pruned like a vase, fertilized, Canadian Spagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection
‘Double Delight’ hybrid tea rose, pruned like a vase, fertilized, Canadian Spagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection

Which roses to protect and the winter protection method to use depend on the degree of hardiness of the variety of rose. to use depend on the degree of hardiness of the variety of rose.

Winter rose protection starts with good summer rose care.

Winter rose protection starts with good summer rose care. Healthy plants survive the winter better — so water, fertilize, and spray for disease during the summer. Discontinue deadheading and using nitrogen fertilizer in late August to allow the roses to harden off for winter. Continue watering the roses into fall. Plant your tender roses in a sheltered location away from drying winds. Plant the bud union on grafted roses 2 to 4 inches below ground level. Choose varieties that are naturally hardy to zone 4 or less.

A winter protection method that is recommended for Minnesota winters, and was used at the Virginia Clemens Rose Garden in St Cloud, is the Minnesota Tip Method. Tender rose varieties are fatally damaged in temperatures below 20 degrees F. Late winter and early spring freeze and thaws can also cause damage. In 1954, Albert Nelson tried a method that he had observed raspberry growers using.

Construction Blanket Method

Minnesota Roses Mulched Pruned Knee High | Ready To Cover
Minnesota Roses Mulched Pruned Knee High | Ready To Cover

The method of winter rose protection that I have used at home for the past eight years and at work for the past five winters is to cover the rose beds with insulated construction blankets. In mid-October, I cut back the roses to a height of 8 inches.

Brick Holding Down The Construction Blankets

Next, the roses are mulched heavily with several shovel scoops of compost, covering the graft and extending 1-½ feet on each side of the plant. This year I added coffee grounds to my compost. When nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 30 degree F. range, I add rodent bait and cover the entire rose bed with R-value 7.48 insulated construction blankets.

Roses Covered With Construction Blankets | Held Down With Concrete Blocks and 2 X 4s
Roses Covered W/Construction Blankets Held Down With Concrete Blocks and 2 X 4s

This should be done before temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. Blanket edges and overlaps are bricked down tightly and closely with many bricks. Avoid leaving gaps where air can get in. The blankets look like two tarps sewn together with a thick bat of insulation in the middle.

The Munsinger & Clemons Gardens Mulched and Blanketed
The Munsinger & Clemons Gardens Mulched and Blanketed

The blankets come in two sizes – 6 foot wide by 25 feet long and 12 feet wide by 25 feet long. The shiny side of the blanket should face down toward the ground.

A method of winter protection that I use for overwintering potted roses is to put them in my attached garage. I spray the plant with fungicide and water it well. Next, I put it in a heavy weight, black garbage bag.

I tie the bag loosely to avoid mildew due to moisture build up. The roses are stored, off the floor and away from drafts in an unheated garage or room with temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees F. In spring, I start removing the rose covering around April 1st. Rose coverings such as leaves, marsh hay, and soil, should be removed in layers as it thaws. About April 15th, I check to see if the soil is thawed enough to raise tipped roses to an upright position without damaging them.

Construction Blanket Covered Minnesota Roses Uncovered Showing Green in March Zone 3b as They Are Uncovered
Construction Blanket Covered Minnesota Roses Uncovered Showing Green in March Zone 3b as They Are Uncovered

After the roses are tipped up and secured firmly in place, water the canes several times per day to avoid drying out from spring winds. Once buds form, fertilize the roses with a balanced rose fertilizer. Prune the roses after buds form and the plant is actively growing. Spray the roses regularly with a fungicide after leaves form

*This is the Minnesota tip method of protecting garden roses from the University of Minnesota.

“The “Minnesota Tip” is one of several proven methods for protecting roses against early freezes in the fall, the bitter cold of winter and the dangers of thaw-freeze cycles in the spring.

Protecting roses for the winter really begins with the work done during the summer. Bringing the roses into the fall season in the best of health is the first step in winter protection. Soon after the middle of October, preparation can begin for tipping the roses. Follow these steps when using the “Minnesota Tip” method for protecting roses during winter and early spring.

diagram of a tied up bushFigure A

diagram showing parts of the tied up plantFigure B

diagram of the plant underneath the groundFigure C

  1. Water generously one or two days prior to tipping to keep the soil in a moist, workable condition.
  2. The day before tipping, give the plants a good dormant spray such as a liquid lime-sulphur material.
  3. Tie the rosebush canes together to allow easier handling.
  4. Avoid pruning the bushes. Open wounds on the canes may not heal properly, as cold weather can inhibit the formation of a protective callus.
  5. Dig a trench, starting away from and working toward the base of the bush. The trench should be as long as the bush is high. The width and depth should easily accommodate the bush or bushes. Pull the soil away from the shank (i.e., the root stock area between the bud union and the main branching of the root system) to facilitate tipping the rose. A spading fork is helpful for loosening the soil around the roots.
  6. When the trench is ready and the roots of the bush are loosened, use a spading fork to push the bush into the trench (Figures A and B). Use the spading fork to hold the bush down while covering it with 2 or 3 inches of soil. If the soil removed in digging the trenches is not enough, add soil from the annual garden or elsewhere (Figure C).
  7. Cover the soil with about 18″ of loose leaves or other covering such as marsh hay.

Minnesota Tip Method. Starts In Late October

He tipped his roses and covered them with soil. This method of winter rose protection later became known as the  It was first demonstrated at an ARS Convention in Omaha in 1966.

The Minnesota Tip Method starts in mid to late October before temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. Spray the roses with a dormant spray such as Lime Sulfur or fungicides such as BannerMaxx and Manzate. Clean up the rose beds, removing dropped leaves and mulch, and remove diseased leaves on the plants to avoid overwintering of disease. Do not prune until spring, as pruning encourages new growth. Tie up the rose canes with orange poly twine, leaving a long tail. This makes the roses easier to tip and bury. The orange twine is easier to see when digging up the roses in the spring. Long lanky canes can be trimmed to make tying easier. Use pruning sealer on the cuts. Using a shovel, dig a trench as long as the rose is high, and wide enough to fit the tied rose. More than one tipped rose can be laid in the same trench. Use a spading fork to pull away the soil from the shank of the rose (below the bud union and above the roots) and loosen the soil around the plant. Dig carefully to avoid damaging the plant or its roots. Use the spading fork to push the rose into the trench. REMEMBER – only the roots bend. Pull more soil away from the shank to make it easier for the roots to bend. Hold the rose down while you cover it with 2 to 3 inches of soil. Add soil from other areas of the garden, if needed to cover the rose. Water the rose beds well to prevent winter drying of roots and canes. After the ground has frozen, cover the rose beds with 2 to 3 feet of leaves or marsh hay. Place several tin cans of rodent bait under the covering to prevent damage from chewing animals. Water the covering well to prevent fire and hold the covering in place. Loosely bagged leaves or insulated construction blankets can also be used as a covering.

Another method of winter rose protection is mounding up the base with 9 to 12 inches of soil. Use a wire cylinder to hold the soil in place. Don’t trim the rose unless necessary. Stuff the cylinder with leaves or marsh hay and cover the entire bed with a 2 foot depth of leaves or marsh hay. Water the rose bed well.

Pictures below is a shrub rose protected with leaves and boards.

Note: The American Rose Society does not recommend the use of rose cones for zone 3 and 4 winters

What’s Cookin’ In The Rose Garden?

A Garland of 'Pink Cupcake' Surrounding 'Cherry Pie'

http://https://youtu.be/f_NRB6tWv9g

‘Pink Cupcake’ & ‘Cherry Pie’ baked up a sweet surprise for this bumble bee this beautiful spring morning!

Oso Easy ‘Pink Cupcake’* and ‘Cherry Pie’ baked up a real surprise that will leave you speechless!

A Garland of 'Pink Cupcake' Surrounding 'Cherry Pie'
A Garland of ‘Pink Cupcake’ Surrounding ‘Cherry Pie’

Throw out everything you thought about roses being “hard to grow.” ‘Oso Easy’ Roses are the “rebels of the rose world!” They bloom all season without deadheading*, they’re disease resistant, winter hardy, no spray, and are pollinator attractants.

'Pink Cupcake' Glorious in morning light
‘Pink Cupcake’ Glorious in morning light

The beautiful pink color has “a touch of coral to keep it from being too light pink”. The color holds true even during the heat of summer. ‘Cherry Pie’ is a darling rose that just simply makes you smile to look at.

Pink Cupcake
Pink Cupcake | A Garland next to ‘Nevada’ behind the Little Red Barn | My Potting Shed

The Proven Winner ‘Oso Easy Roses’ are part of the fall planting series I did to educate folks on planting roses in the fall and winter hardiness.

'Pink Cupcake' | 'Cherry Pie'
‘Pink Cupcake’ | ‘Cherry Pie’ | Hybridized by Alain Meilland of Meilland Roses International

*RE: Deadheading, I deadhead (remove spent blooms) from my ‘Pink Cupcake’ I think it yields even more blooms but you don’t have to if you want to just let it do as it pleases.

'Pink Cupcake' cascades of blooms
‘Pink Cupcake’ cascades of blooms Bakes a garland of ‘Cherry Pie’

‘Pink Cupcake’ was hybridized by Christopher H. Warner of the UK

‘Cherry Pie’ was hybridized by Alain Meilland of France

Alain Meilland, of Meilland Roses International
Alain Meilland, of Meilland Roses International | Hybridizer of ‘Cherry Pie’

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Winter Rose Protection With Construction Blankets by MN Rose Specialist Deb Kaiser

Rose Specialist Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, Deb Kaiser
Rose Specialist Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, Deb Kaiser
Rose Specialist Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, Deb Kaiser, Expert on Construction Blanket Cold Weather Rose Care, With Jack Falker, The Minnesota Rose Gardener

Winter in Minnesota is a force to be reckoned with. Rose Specialist of the Munsinger & Clemens Gardens St. Cloud, Minnesota, Ms. Deb Kaiser, has found a kinder gentler way to wrap it up. The following is a Guest Post by Deb Kaiser.

Let It Snow | Snow Provides Isolation for Roses
Let It Snow | Snow Provides Isolation for Roses

Winter Rose Protection With Construction Blankets by Deb Kaiser, Rose Specialist

With cooler weather in the forecast I have started to prepare my home rose garden, and the public rose garden that I work for, ready for what might be an early winter. In late August, I stopped fertilizing the roses with nitrogen. I deadheaded the shrub roses one last time. Now, I am letting them form rose hips and harden off for the winter. We have had lots of heavy rain this season. Much of it has been at night and our weather has been cooler, so blackspot has been a problem. I will continue to spray the roses every 2 weeks with a systemic fungicide Honor Guard (a generic for BannerMaxx) and Manzate fungicide both of which I purchase from Rosemania.

Construction Blanket Covered Roses
Construction Blanket Covered Roses

Winter Rose Protection With Construction Blankets by Deb Kaiser, Rose Specialist

With cooler weather in the forecast I have started to prepare my home rose garden, and the public rose garden that I work for, ready for what might be an early winter. In late August, I stopped fertilizing the roses with nitrogen. I deadheaded the shrub roses one last time. Now, I am letting them form rose hips and harden off for the winter. We have had lots of heavy rain this season. Much of it has been at night and our weather has been cooler, so blackspot has been a problem. I will continue to spray the roses every 2 weeks with a systemic fungicide Honor Guard (a generic for BannerMaxx) and Manzate fungicide both of which I purchase from Rosemania.

Jack Falker | The Minnesota Rose Gardener | Assisting Deb Kaiser With the Project
Jack Falker | The Minnesota Rose Gardener

So what can we do to help protect them from early winter temperatures and winds? One of the things that I am starting to do now is to feed the roses potassium, as a drench. I am following the recommendations of Twin Cities Rose Club member, Minnesota Rose Gardener, Jack Falker Please see Jack’s August & October 2012 blogs on the potassium feast for roses at http://jack-rosarian.blogspot.com.

Minnesota Roses Mulched Pruned Knee High | Ready To Cover
Minnesota Roses Mulched Pruned Knee High | Ready To Cover

Good winter protection methods are a must for zone 3 and 4 Minnesota winters. There are three main functions of winter protection – to keep the temperature high enough to prevent winter kill, to keep the temperature low enough to keep the roses dormant, and to protect the roses from drying and withering of canes caused by winter sun and wind. So what roses need winter protection? I winter protect all tender roses that are not hardy to zone 3.

Goose Girl in Snow
Goose Girl in Snow

Which roses to protect and the winter protection method to use depends on the degree of hardiness of the variety of rose. There are many cold hardy varieties of old garden and shrub roses that need no additional cover. They include albas, centifolias, damasks, gallicas, species roses, rugosas, Explorers, Parkland, some Buck Roses, and most Bailey’s Easy Elegance roses. There are varying degrees of hardiness within the cold hardy roses. Tip hardiness is where there is minimal winter dieback out to the tips of the rose canes. My Jens Munk and John Davis shrub roses always come to mind when I talk about tip hardy roses. These two roses require no cover. Their long canes can be seen sticking out of the snow banks. In the spring, they are the first of my shrub roses to leaf out. Crown hardiness is when the rose dies back to the ground. In spring, the plant sends out new shoots at ground level.

Easy Elegance 'Sunrise Sunset Rose'
Easy Elegance ‘Sunrise Sunset Rose’ introduced at the IGC Show in Chicago

My Bailey’s Easy Elegance roses may do this. There are varying degrees of hardiness in between. With good mulch and snow cover, most of my Easy Elegance and Northern Accents roses die back to somewhere between tip and ground levels.

Roses Mulched and Partially Covered
Roses Mulched and Partially Covered

Crown hardy roses need some mulch or other cover such as soil and leaves or marsh hay. Tender roses such as non-hardy (zone 5 and higher shrubs), hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, minifloras, and miniatures need a good winter protection method.

Roses Covered With Construction Blankets | Held Down With Concrete Blocks and 2 X 4s
Roses Covered w/Construction Blankets Held Down With Concrete Blocks and 2 X 4s

Winter rose protection starts with good summer rose care. Healthy plants survive the winter better — so water, fertilize, and spray for disease during the summer. Discontinue deadheading and using nitrogen fertilizer in late August to allow the roses to harden off for winter. Continue watering the roses into fall. Plant your tender roses in a sheltered location away from drying winds. Plant the bud union on grafted roses 2 to 4 inches below ground level. Choose varieties that are naturally hardy to zone 4 or less.

A winter protection method that is recommended for Minnesota winters, and was used at the Virginia Clemens Rose Garden in St Cloud, is the Minnesota Tip Method. Tender rose varieties are fatally damaged in temperatures below 20 degrees F. Late winter and early spring freeze and thaws can also cause damage. In 1954, Albert Nelson tried a method that he had observed raspberry growers using.

The Munsinger & Clemons Gardens Mulched and Blanketed
The Munsinger & Clemons Gardens Mulched and Blanketed

He tipped his roses and covered them with soil. This method of winter rose protection later became known as the Minnesota Tip Method. It was first demonstrated at an ARS Convention in Omaha in 1966.

The Minnesota Tip Method starts in mid to late October before temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. Spray the roses with a dormant spray such as Lime Sulfur or fungicides such as BannerMaxx and Manzate. Clean up the rose beds, removing dropped leaves and mulch, and remove diseased leaves on the plants to avoid overwintering of disease. Do not prune until spring, as pruning encourages new growth. Tie up the rose canes with orange poly twine, leaving a long tail. This makes the roses easier to tip and bury. The orange twine is easier to see when digging up the roses in the spring. Long lanky canes can be trimmed to make tying easier. Use pruning sealer on the cuts. Using a shovel, dig a trench as long as the rose is high, and wide enough to fit the tied rose. More than one tipped rose can be laid in the same trench. Use a spading fork to pull away the soil from the shank of the rose (below the bud union and above the roots) and loosen the soil around the plant. Dig carefully to avoid damaging the plant or its roots. Use the spading fork to push the rose into the trench. REMEMBER – only the roots bend. Pull more soil away from the shank to make it easier for the roots to bend. Hold the rose down while you cover it with 2 to 3 inches of soil. Add soil from other areas of the garden, if needed to cover the rose. Water the rose beds well to prevent winter drying of roots and canes. After the ground has frozen, cover the rose beds with 2 to 3 feet of leaves or marsh hay. Place several tin cans of rodent bait under the covering to prevent damage from chewing animals. Water the covering well to prevent fire and hold the covering in place. Loosely bagged leaves or insulated construction blankets can also be used as a covering.

Another method of winter rose protection is mounding up the base with 9 to 12 inches of soil. Use a wire cylinder to hold the soil in place. Don’t trim the rose unless necessary. Stuff the cylinder with leaves or marsh hay and cover the entire bed with a 2 foot depth of leaves or marsh hay. Water the rose bed well.

Pictures below is a shrub rose protected with leaves and boards.

Roses Covered With Construction Blankets | Held Down With Concrete Blocks and 2 X 4s
Roses Covered With Construction Blankets | Held Down With Concrete Blocks and 2 X 4s

Note: The American Rose Society does not recommend the use of rose cones for zone 3 and 4 winters

The method of winter rose protection that I have used at home for the past eight years and at work for the past five winters is to cover the rose beds with insulated construction blankets. In mid-October, I cut back the roses to a height of 8 inches. Next, the roses are mulched heavily with several shovel scoops of compost, covering the graft and extending 1 ½ feet on each side of the plant. This year I added coffee grounds to my compost. When nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 30 degree F. range, I add rodent bait and cover the entire rose bed with R-value 7.48 insulated construction blankets. This should be done before temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. Blanket edges and overlaps are bricked down tightly and closely with many bricks. Avoid leaving gaps where air can get in. The blankets look like two tarps sewn together with a thick bat of insulation in the middle. The blankets come in two sizes – 6 foot wide by 25 feet long and 12 feet wide by 25 feet long. The shiny side of the blanket should face down toward the ground.

A method of winter protection that I use for overwintering potted roses is to put them in my attached garage. I spray the plant with fungicide and water it well. Next, I put it in a heavy weight, black garbage bag.

I tie the bag loosely to avoid mildew due to moisture build up. The roses are stored, off the floor.


Potted roses can also be laid on their sides and covered with insulated blankets or trenched and buried.
and away from drafts, in an unheated garage or room with temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees F.

Construction Blanket Covered Minnesota Roses Uncovered Showing Green in March Zone 3b as They Are Uncovered
Construction Blanket Covered Minnesota Roses Uncovered Showing Green in March Zone 3b as They Are Uncovered

In spring, I start removing the rose covering around April 1st. Rose coverings such as leaves, marsh hay, and soil, should be removed in layers as it thaws. About April 15th, I check to see if the soil is thawed enough to raise tipped roses to an upright position without damaging them. After the roses are tipped up and secured firmly in place, water the canes several times per day to avoid drying out from spring winds. Once buds form, fertilize the roses with a balanced rose fertilizer. Prune the roses after buds form and the plant is actively growing. Spray the roses regularly with a fungicide after leaves form.

The Fall of Roses, Sunrises & Sunsets

'Crimson Bouquet' at Sunrise in November
'Crimson Bouquet'
‘Crimson Bouquet’ a Meilland Grandiflora Rose at sunrise in the garden

Light dances with nature creating a symphony each second, every snapshot a mystery. A myriad of colors, reflections and pools of light bounce along twinkling as if the very eye of creation winks and says “Catch me if you can, for I’ll be gone forevermore into the space of eternity like the sands in the hourglass of time.”

Glistening at Sunrise with the Burning Bush | The Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima),
Glistening at Sunrise with the Burning Bush | The Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima),

This Thanksgiving I want to share how thankful I am for Illinois fall colors. This autumn is the most beautiful I can ever remember in Illinois. Most folks probably would not think of Illinois when they think of fall colors, however Central Illinois with its rolling hills, bountiful corn fields and soybeans that my Mother and Dad often said “feeds the world” is awesomely beautiful.

'Crimson Bouquet' at Sunrise in November
‘Crimson Bouquet’ at Sunrise in November

The roses intensified in colors and played off the sunlight and fall color of the leaves all season long. Here are the factors at play:

  • Changes in temperature;
  • Hours of daylight;
  • Wonders of nature (who knows how many variables!)
'Europeana' After the First Frost
‘Europeana’ Kissed By Jack Frost

The following factors all play a role in having a powerful affect in making each autumn and rose unique. So let’s look at how the three basic pigment groups: carotenoids and two types of flavonoids – anthocyanin and flavonols affect flower color:

'Europeana' with Ice Crystals
‘Europeana’ with Ice Crystals

Carotenoids Hold Color

During the hottest summer days the bright yellow and orange flowers tend to hold their color because the carotenoids are the most stable of the flower and fruit pigments.

Doris Day on a Fall Day
Doris Day on a Fall Day

They are enclosed in their own little compartments, called “plastids,” nestled inside the cytoplasm of individual plant cells, out of reach of many of the substances that a plant absorbs. Pesticides don’t reach them, nor do most of the nutrients and toxins plants absorb from the soil or air. When damaging substances do manage to get to them, these carotenoids have a second line of defense in their anti-oxidant actions that protect the plant even further. So the carotenoid pigments last and last. Whatever color the flower opens with, it maintains that color until well after it folds back up.

Legend | A Roses As Big As A Barn ;)
Legend | A Roses As Big As A Barn 😉

Hot Weather Increases Carotenoids I remember the most basic things my mother taught me about growing tomatoes: you have to have heat and sun to have a bountiful crop, and the fact that tomatoes are high in carotenoids is why.

With all pigments, the more pigment the flower produces in the bud, the brighter its colors will be. With carotenoids, a little bit of pigment makes a soft yellow flower. As the pigment levels increase, flowers become increasingly vivid yellows, oranges, and reds. This is the progression that a tomato follows as it ripens, gradually increasing production of carotenoids until it is fully ripe and red.

Princess Alexandra of Kent by David Austin
Princess Alexandra of Kent by David Austin Roses

Anthocyanins
The Blues Purples Pinks Reds  Anthocyanins are Unstable

Fall leaves change color in response to weather and this is an indicator of anthocyanin pigments. Anthocyanins are best known as the red pigment in fall leaves.

Did you notice how as the weather cools the red roses turn redder?

Colors fade almost completely as Anthocyanins & Flavanols burn away.

Anthocyanins are are much less stable than carotenoids.

Red Roses Turn Redder as The weather Cools Because

Anthocyanins Increase and Turn Red in Response to Cold

Burning Bush | The Old Oak Tree | Mexican Feather Grass
Burning Bush | The Old Oak Tree | Mexican Feather Grass

Nature does do some things that alter ph and other anthocyanin characteristics of plants. Functioning almost as a sort of anti-freeze in plant sap anthocyanins respond to dropping temperatures and produce more anthocyanins and become redder. For some reason, redder anthocyanins seem to have a more protective anti-freeze effect in plants. This happens in maple leaves.

maximize anothocyanins, to turn leaves their brightest reds and oranges, and to increase and darken the reds and pinks Maximum Anothocyanin Formula for Fall Color

The perfect weather is a factor for beautiful fall colors.

Bright sunny days

Less rain

Cold

Anthocyanins Degrade and Disappear with Heat 

Flowers that fade quickly in summer heat are high in bands of anthocyanin pigments. These flowers tend to intensify and are more beautiful in cooler weather since some anthocyanins are very sensitive to heat.

Sunset in Illinois
Sunset in Illinois

Source American Scientific *Carotene pigments (which are carotenoids) produce yellow, orange and red colors whereas anthocyanin pigments (which are flavonoids) produce red, purple, magenta and blue colors. Most red flowers use anthocyanin pigments to produce their red coloring (although some use carotenoids). On the paper strips, the anthocyanin pigments may have appeared as a purplish-reddish band. If different red flowers made similarly colored bands around the same height on the paper towel strip as one another, then they likely have the same pigment. If the bands are different colors and/or at different heights, however, then they’re probably different pigments. Carotene pigments are more commonly found in vegetables, and, in fact, they are what make carrots look orange. Yellow and orange flowers can have carotenoids or flavonoids, and blue flowers often have anthocyanin pigments that are modified. Some flowers even have chlorophyll that gives them green coloring.

 

Winterizing Your Roses

Double Knock Out® Roses With Ice Crystals at Sunrise in The Garden
Double Knock Out® Roses With Ice Crystals at Sunrise in The Garden
Double Knock Out® Roses With Ice Crystals at Sunrise in The Garden

Seasons change and so do ‘Oui.”Do you seek permission to do something you want to do? Or get permission not to do something that you think you aught to do?* I do. Hold on to your bags of mulch! From ‘my lips to God’s ear’ I got permission from a higher authority not to cover my roses this winter! Maybe not directly from God but it was an answered prayer not to do something I didn’t want to do that I thought I aught to from a higher authority than me, William Radler, developer of the popular Knock Out® shrub roses. I had the extraordinary good fortune to visit with Will Radler at the American Rose Society Fall Convention in Syracuse, New York while I was there as a guest speaker on photography. Will “gave me permission” to not cover my roses this winter. Mr. Fox aka ‘Big Daddy’ is my witness. So I’m not going to cover them. No extra mulch, no leaves, no piles of dirt. Don’t send me cards and letters Minnesota Rose Gardener, Jack Falker. Here’s what Will Radler says:

William Radler William Radler, developer of the popular Knock Out® shrub rose. This is the rosarium or “greenhouse” where Radler is developing his next generation of roses. Only the best will ever make it to market. Some may even be good enough to become Knock Out® roses, which are noted for their disease resistance. More than 80 million Knock Out® roses have been sold since the first was introduced in 2000, making it the best selling rose series in the U.S.
William Radler William Radler, developer of the popular Knock Out® shrub rose. This is his rosarium or “greenhouse” where Radler is developing his next generation of roses. Only the best make it to market. Some may even be good enough to become Knock Out® roses, which are noted for their disease resistance. Since the first Knock® Out rose was introduced more than 80 million roses have been sold making it the best selling rose series in the U.S.

“There are many factors why plants are winter hardy. ~ Will Radler

“When artificial means are used to bring a plant through winter, often they can conflict with some beneficial factors. For die-back-hardy woody plants, the simplest winter protection technique is applying a few inches of mulch year round. This allows the plant in the autumn to grow into its fullest state of natural dormancy. It prevents the soil from getting as cold as would in open ground. And it allows the plant to break dormancy slower in the spring. Cutting back the canes only in the spring provides shade to the lower branches and helps attract snow cover that insulates and guards against low temperature injury and fluctuating temperatures.” ~ Will Radler

American Rose Society National Convention Award for Best Climber Tempo Chicago Paula Ballin
American Rose Society National Convention Award for Best Climber Tempo Chicago Paula Ballin This is the rose I used the Minnesota Tip To Protect against N. Illinois Winter

I tried the Minnesota Tip method the winter after my climber Tempo won the American Rose Society National for Best Climber in Chicago. I wanted to winterize my rose that had just won an American Rose Society National Trophy for Best Climber. Lord help me if I had to tip roses for winterizing them I would not grow a single rose, or I would just treat them like annuals. I’ve witnessed wonderful folks in Minnesota tip entire parks full of roses! Wow they must love roses.

Snow Forming the Perfect Insulation for The Elevated Garden Last Year
Snow Forming the Perfect Insulation for The Elevated Garden Last Year

Minnesota tip method of protecting garden roses*

*This is the Minnesota tip method of protecting garden roses from the University of Minnesota.

“The “Minnesota Tip” is one of several proven methods for protecting roses against early freezes in the fall, the bitter cold of winter and the dangers of thaw-freeze cycles in the spring.

Protecting roses for the winter really begins with the work done during the summer. Bringing the roses into the fall season in the best of health is the first step in winter protection. Soon after the middle of October, preparation can begin for tipping the roses. Follow these steps when using the “Minnesota Tip” method for protecting roses during winter and early spring.

diagram of a tied up bushFigure A

diagram showing parts of the tied up plantFigure B

diagram of the plant underneath the groundFigure C

  1. Water generously one or two days prior to tipping to keep the soil in a moist, workable condition.
  2. The day before tipping, give the plants a good dormant spray such as a liquid lime-sulphur material.
  3. Tie the rosebush canes together to allow easier handling.
  4. Avoid pruning the bushes. Open wounds on the canes may not heal properly, as cold weather can inhibit the formation of a protective callus.
  5. Dig a trench, starting away from and working toward the base of the bush. The trench should be as long as the bush is high. The width and depth should easily accommodate the bush or bushes. Pull the soil away from the shank (i.e., the root stock area between the bud union and the main branching of the root system) to facilitate tipping the rose. A spading fork is helpful for loosening the soil around the roots.
  6. When the trench is ready and the roots of the bush are loosened, use a spading fork to push the bush into the trench (Figures A and B). Use the spading fork to hold the bush down while covering it with 2 or 3 inches of soil. If the soil removed in digging the trenches is not enough, add soil from the annual garden or elsewhere (Figure C).
  7. Cover the soil with about 18″ of loose leaves or other covering such as marsh hay.
Proven Winners Oso Easy 'Oh My!' and Double Knock Out® on a Fall Day in the Rose Garden
Proven Winners Oso Easy ‘Oh My!’ and Double Knock Out® on a Fall Day in the Rose Garden
‘Weeks Roses ‘Easy Does It’; ‘Hot Cocoa’; and ‘Pumpkin Patch’

Next spring, start uncovering the rose bushes about April 1st. Begin by removing the leaves and then gradually remove the soil as it progressively thaws. On or about April 15th, raise the plants to an upright position and syringe the canes often with water to prevent them from drying out. Once the plants have been lifted, spray with a good all-purpose fungicide and insecticide and make sure they are adequately watered”

So don’t do as I do do, what you want. When I lived in N. Illinois I never used winter protection and the ground froze and ice and snow protected my roses just fine.

Let me tell you why I am not covering my roses. It’s a test to see how much difference it actually makes in how the roses fair. And this season after the Chicago Flower & Garden Show removing 50 bags of mulch and clearing the garden was just a crazy amount of work. I’ll report to you how the roses fair covered versus uncovered after a Central Illinois zone 6b winter.

Doris Day in the Garden on a Fall Day
Doris Day in the Garden on a Fall Day

Read About Susan Fox Famous ‘Oui Theory’*

** It Reminds me of The Apostle Paul’s spiritual conflict Roman’s 7:8-13

The Garden on a Fall Day | Double Knock Out®
The Garden on a Fall Day | Double Knock Out®