Tree Roses

The beautiful tree (standard) rose is a lovely addition to the garden, but extra care is needed to insure its survival over winter. Like hybrid tea rose bushes, you should stop removing spent blooms about five weeks before the first hard frost. This will give the rose a rest from the energy consuming flowering period. This will signal the rose that it has done its job, producing seeds and may now rest.

Generally, you should stop feeding your roses, tree or bush, about the middle of August to allow it to slow down gradually. This will make the transition to dormancy easier on the rose bush. Tree roses are made up of a hardy root stock grafted to a long stem that is, in turn, grafted to a rose bush at the top of the stem. Because it extends so far above the ground, its chances of survival in our climate, if left planted, are poor. Wait until a few frosts have knocked the leaves from your tree rose before winterizing it.

It is a common mistake to prepare rose bushes too early. Frost will not kill a rose bush, it is the hard freeze you should be concerned about. When it is time to winterize your tree rose (generally in mid to late October), slice into the soil halfway around the tree rose about a foot from the stem. Then, carefully pry up on the root ball, on the side away from the uncut soil, gradually tipping the tree rose until it is lying horizontal on the ground. Next, bury the entire plant with soil. That will prevent the wind and sun from drying the tree rose out over winter.

In spring, don’t uncover the plant too early. Wait until there is no danger of a hard freeze. It is safer to leave it covered a little too long than to uncover it prematurely.