Roses Things-To-Do Fall Checklist

'Oso Easy' Paprika in the Fall | Falling Leaves
'Pumpkin Patch Russet Floribunda Rose in the Fall
‘Pumpkin Patch’ Russet floribunda rose in the Fall

Temperatures in September are perfect to spend time in your rose garden throughout much of the country. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor and contemplate strategies for expansion and begin to winterize your roses. Make it a family activity by getting the children involved and teaching them about rose & garden care. Children love to help. My grandson with Down syndrome loves to haul bags of mulch. I don’t know what it is about digging but give a child a garden trowel and a place to dig and you have a happy kid.

Kids Love Tools
Kids Love Tools, hauling and digging

Also be on the look-out for plant bargains. At this time of year you can find the last of the season’s perennials; stragglers begging for a little TLC at the local garden centers. Plant them this fall and they’ll come roaring back as beautiful plants year after year. Garden tip: Save the name tags.

Fall in most parts of the country can produce a spectacular rose bloom. From Wisconsin to Texas I’ve seen roses blooming through the holidays. Remember roses can tolerate 3 days of hard frost of temperatures below 21 degrees before they are fully dormant for the season. So you can plan on roses for your bouquets for the Thanksgiving table even in Illinois, maybe Wisconsin. September is time to determine if there are still any American Rose Society rose shows in the area you may want to exhibit as well. The nights in the 2nd half of the month begin to get cooler which creates an environment for black spot and mildew, so continue your environmentally friendly spraying program to control black spot and mildew.

Here’s my September Rose Garden Check List. As I mentioned last year I swear by Will Radler’s method of winter rose protection. I publish Deb Kaiser’s method who I have the most respect for since she grows and cares for roses in Minnesota. I do believe roses in the far north require a bit more protection. Click for Deb Kaiser’s Winter Rose Protection Method Specialist of the Munsinger & Clemins Gardens, St. Cloud, MN.

“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

Fall Rose Garden Check List

  1. Dead-head for the last time, Allow rose hips* to form signaling its time for the plant to go into dormancy.

    'Earth Song' Making Rose Hips
    ‘Earth Song’, Dr. Griffith J. Buck Grandiflora ‘Earth Kind’ grandiflora rose producing rose hips, gently signaling to the rose bush that its time to go into dormancy. It’s next to ‘Abraham Darby’ by David Austin Roses.
  2. Remove debris, remember that black spot ‘over-winters’ and you will battle it next spring if not removed.

    Corona Rake to rake up debris around 'Pumpkin Patch'
    Corona Rake to rake up debris around ‘Pumpkin Patch’
  3. Fertilize for the last time for the 2016 season, I add 2 cups of Mills Magic Rose Food at the base of the plant

    Mills Magic Rose Food | Add 2 cups around the base of each rose | Cover with Canadian Spagnum peat moss
    Mills Magic Rose Food | Add 2 cups around the base of each rose
  4. Apply a layer of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss.

    'Europeana' with all debris removed, fertilized, one layer of Canadian spagnum peat moss added prior to 6-6 inches of hard wood mulch for winter protection
    ‘Europeana’ floribunda rose with all debris removed, fertilized, one layer of Canadian spagnum peat moss added prior to 6-6 inches of hard wood mulch for winter protection
  5. Order, buy, spread hard wood mulch* as your winter cover; I’m using the William Radler winterizing method.

    Will Radler, Creator of The Knock Out® Family of Roses | He changed the face of the landscaping with a single rose bush
    Will Radler, Creator of The Knock Out® Family of Roses | He changed the face of the landscaping with a single rose bush
  6. Prune the bush like a vase, I removed weak inside canes.

    '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 Sphagnum peat moss layer added, ready for mulch for winter protection
  7. Each Rose bush will be covered for winter with hardwood mulch about 4-6 inches.

    'Livin' Easy' Floribunda Rose Final Fertilization With Hard Wood Mulch Application In September For Winterization Covering
    ‘Livin’ Easy’ Floribunda Rose Final Fertilization With Hard Wood Mulch Application In September For Winter Covering
  8. Inventory your garden rate your rose bushes: keepers, maybe, replace.

    Gaga's Garden In Bloom
    Gaga’s Garden In Bloom Takes on Similar Patterns Each Year
  9. Order Name Plates If you show roses its essential that you correctly identify your rose or you can be dis-qualified for improper identification.

    'Elle' hybrid tea rose by Mouchette/Meilland Named for my granddaughters with an engraved name plate
    ‘Elle’ hybrid tea rose by Mouchette/Meilland Named for my granddaughters with an engraved name plate
  10. Deep watering method to 8 inches continue to water as long as the ground is not frozen.
    Drip Watering System shown on 'Europeana'
    Drip Watering System shown on ‘Europeana’

    11. Trim tall canes. In October you may want to trim tall canes that winter winds will blow and damage other bushes.

    'Olympiad' cane over 7 feet tall that will be trimmed back next month after frost
    ‘Olympiad’ cane over 7 feet tall that will be trimmed back next month after frost

    Listly

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Q: What are Rosehips?

A: Blooms not cut will form rosehips which are the fruit of the rose plant containing the seeds. They form when you don’t cut spent blooms and start the bush into a slow dormancy process. You can remove the petals if you don’t want the petals to fall into the garden. The formation of rosehips signals to the plant that its time to go into dormancy for winter. The plant then gently ‘hardens off’ for winter.

Q: Why do you use hard wood mulch?

A: Because hard wood mulch is fully organic and biodegradable breaking down completely to help convert nutrients in clay soil.

I would like to dedicate this year’s Winterizing Roses article to Marsha Collier who wrote “Ebay for Dummies’ because she was ask me about what to do in the fall with her roses. She is an avid rose gardener, and looks to me like she does most things very well. Thank-you Marsha!

 

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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®