Roses have the reputation of being difficult and if you don’t treat them properly you will no doubt find that they are. At this time of year you have to think about protecting the roses so that they can withstand the winter. Mulching and mounding are two of the techniques recommended by Dr Leonard Perry from the University of Vermont.
Do you have some roses that you would like to have survive the upcoming winter, if at all possible, and particularly if new plantings?? Or, are you one of those who had roses going into last winter, only to have many die while those of your neighbor lived?? If either of these fits, you might consider mulching and mounding this fall.
A mulch will not only keep the soil warmer than unmulched soil, but also will prevent rapid fluctuations in soil temperatures which lead to soil heaving.? Snow is the best mulch but, as we know, can not always be counted on.? So other materials must be used.
A good mulch will settle lightly on the soil surface without excessive packing (this rules out most oak leaves), cause no harmful effects (such as from diseases or weed seeds), and be reasonably attractive and priced.? Mulches derived from plants also add organic matter to the soil.? Examples of good organic mulches are peat moss, weed-free straw (not hay, which is often weedy), cut evergreen branches, bark mulch, or wood chips.
Mulches should be piled at least a foot deep around plants, and not before mid-November, as roses need cool fall temperatures to develop some winter hardiness.? Mulch much later and you may have to contend with snow first, and valuable ground heat will have been lost.