This page is designed to answer basic questions about growing
roses. If you have a question that you don't see answered
here, please email us
and we'll add it and the answer. Thanks to our consulting
rosarians for filling in the blanks for us!
Check back soon for our upcoming "Rose Care by Season"
When should I remove the winter protection ?
Remove winter protection in the Twin Cities about April
15th. The night
temperatures are usually above 20°F after April
15. File your taxes and work off the aggression by getting
roses ready for spring. Keep the bushes well watered
in the spring to prevent dessication of canes. (Dave
How do I uncover my buried roses?
Just remember that in the early spring the ground is
probably frozen so you should remove the leaves (insulation)
from over the roses to let the ground thaw before trying
to bring the roses up. Generally if the leaves are removed
from the tipping site about 10 days prior to bringing
the roses up, the ground will be thawed. Don't try to
bring the roses up through the frozen ground as the
canes break. (Dave B, 1/2003)
What rose bushes need winter protection?
In the Twin Cities area, all 'tender'roses (hybrid
grandiflora, and miniatures) need heavy winter protection.
listed as 'hardy' in the catalogs may need winter protection
too. Hardy may include dieback to the ground and is
variety specific. Contact a consulting rosarian for
specific variety information. (Dave B, 1/2003)
In the Twin Cities area when should winter protection
be in place?
Winter protection is necessary when the night temperatures
go below 20°F. In the Twin Cities area this is usually
about October 15th. Be sure that the winter protection
is complete before the first snowfall or it won't get
done. The Halloween snowfall of 12 inches a few years
ago caught several rose growers without winter protection.
This year (2002) had a later time period but the rapid
temperature drop around Christmas probably caught some
rosarians without winter protection. (Dave B, 1/2003)
When can I prune climbers?
August is a good time to prune your climbers. Tie errant
canes to the trellis or arbor. Feed heavily now with
Woodies or another granular fertilizer and then weekly
or every 10 days with fish emulsion, or any foliar feed.
This will encourage a great August -September bloom.
How do I choose the right place for my rose bed?
You need 6 hours of sunlight, and a good sandy loam
Whenever I look around my back yard, I have no trees
that look like they would interfere with my sunlight.
In Spring, they don't but during the summer after the
trees leaf out and the sun changes its trajectory, I
get shade from my neighbor's garage and the neighborhood
trees. My advice is to start watching the sun now during
all hours of the day. Look for places that have shadows.
Be aware of how the sun trajectory changes because it
is higher in the sky during the summer. (Carole 2/2000)
How do I test my soil?
You can pick up a soil kit at most garden centers.
Or check out Soil
Test Lab. You take dirt from several spots in the
rose bed, mix it together and fill the bag with the
correct amount of soil. Fill out the form and send the
form and bag to the University of Minnesota. Several
years ago, I had 10 yards of black dirt brought in to
help raise my beds in the backyard. My roses by the
house always did better than those in the new bed. The
soil test confirmed that my pH was way too high. (Carole
& Gabe, 4/2001)
What special care do rose cones require?
During the early winter and early spring, the sun can
make the temperature inside rose cones rise tremendously.
You might need to let air get in and circulate by punching
holes near the top of the cone or removing it during
the daytime. Before learning how to MN Tip my roses
I used cones and every Spring I would find mold and
mildew on the canes. If we have an unseasonable warm
Spring, I might start uncovering my bushes (removing
the mulch) earlier than normal. When you do bring your
roses up, remember that the canes are more tender that
they were last fall and that the wind can do as much
damage to the bushes as the cold winter. You can spray
the canes with water or you might use an anti-transpirant
such as Cloud Cover or Wilt-Pruf. (Carole, 2/2000)
What kind of a hole do I need to plant my rose?
To grow good roses you need to dig big holes. My goal
is to have a hole 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep.
I thought I was digging good holes. Then I read a tip
in the ARS magazine that suggested using a planting
stick to measure the size of the hole. I thought it
was kind of silly but I decided to give it a try. I
marked off a dowel with a peice of duct tape at 18 and
24 inches. I then dug the size hole I had normally dug
for the last 16 years to plant my roses. You guessed
it I came up with the short end of the stick. I placed
the stick in the hole length wise and was 4 inches too
shallow. I placed the stick across the hole and was
5 inches too narrow. My rose holes were not nearly big
enough. I won't dig another hole without my trusty rose
planting stick again. Small holes do not allow rose
roots to properly expand and could stunt the growth
of the rose. Lesson learned. (Penny 4/2001)
How do I winter protect climbers?
When burying tall plants (i.e. climbers) and you don't
want to cut the nice long canes back, put several 6
foot long wooden 1x1 stakes in with the canes and tie
the canes to them. then in when you bring the roses
up in the spring, the stakes help support the canes
and you won't break any long canes, or not as many.
worked well for me. (Gabe 4/2001)
What should I do to protect roses I've just uncovered?
In the spring when you uncover your roses, spray them
with an anti-transpirant such as wiltpruf as soon as
you bring them up and have washed off all the dirt from
the canes. It helps keep your rose canes from drying
out in the sun and wind before they start to develop
leaves. I even apply a fungicide before I spray them
with wiltproof. (Gabe 4/2001)