Care Of Roses
When Going Away
QUESTION: It is deep, snowy winter here in rural Southern Indiana.
Last year I planted 6 climbing roses (New Dawn, Dublin Bay, etc).
They grew to 6 ft and bloomed nicely along fencing.
Also I have a nice 5 ft peace rose and a couple of teas that are established.
All have straw winter protection around the base and a tall wire cage to protect from deer.
March 2 I am leaving to hike the Appalachian Trail for 6 months.
I have a caretaker but he is not going to look after the roses except to water in dry times.
Is there anything I can do before leaving to help maintain their viability? Trimming back?
ANSWER Hi! The rose bushes should be pruned when all danger from frost is over.
If you prune when it's still wintry and cold, the roses will suffer from winter kill.
The climbing roses will be ok with no pruning.
If you have long periods of no rain, and the roses aren't watered enough, they will suffer and be subject to diseases.
So installing an automated drip irrigation would be best.
6 months of no care, especially in the spring when the rose season begins, isn't going to make your roses happy.