Tree rose is unlikely to survive winter so try a
different vertical feature
Some tree roses are said to be "hardy" to zone 5 and 6.
Does this mean they could get through the winter without being
trenched? I know that the graft is at the top. Is it possible to
insulate the graft and hold it there with burlap? Any other ways to
overwinter tree roses?
I'm glad you posted that question on the discussion forum so it
could be fielded by Nancy Lindley, owner of Great Lakes Roses and
author of the excellent and much needed new book "Roses for
Michigan" (Lone Pine Press).
Says Lindley, "I don't know of any grafted tree roses
(technically called "standards") that are hardy in Zone 5. The
variety grafted to the top may be hardy, but the graft isn't."
"A very few nurseries offer non-grafted tree roses and those can
be hardy. Basically, they take a rose bush that has pushed out a
big, tall cane. They stake that cane and prune away all the other
canes. These roses don't look as graceful as a well-done grafted
tree rose, because top-notch tree roses have at least four bud eyes
grafted to the top of the shank. Also, you really have to keep on
top of a non-grafted tree rose and prune out any new growth from
the base, before it overtakes the rest of the plant."
"You grow tree roses for vertical interest in your garden. Why
not select a small, hardy climber and grow it up a narrow obelisk?
It can stay outdoors all winter long and will give you nice
Never overlook the simplest answer, to relocate the
Recently in this column the hot topic has been how to guard
plants from conditions that don't suit them, such as how to keep
rhododendrons and other broadleaf evergreens from drying out over
winter. You're not alone if you think it's too much trouble to
spray protective coatings on these shrubs in late fall, then use a
last-minute vacation day during a late winter thaw to renew the
treatment. I feel the same way. There is a simpler way to prevent
winter damage to evergreens, and that's to move the plants to the
site they should have been in all along. That's a place that's out
of the winter wind and midday sun.
Plant pest experts at universities agree that an overwhelming
majority of insect and diseases become problems only when the
gardener gives them an opening. We open the door by choosing
disease-prone species, putting plants in places where they cannot
receive the combination of light and water that will make them
resistant to trouble, or by improper watering, fertilizing or
Green thumbs up
to brave early flowers that warm the heart by blooming at the
first possible minute, sometimes opening up within a garland of
snow. Snow crocus (Crocus minimus), snowdrops (Galanthus
nivalis), winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) and
spring witchhazel (Hamamelis x mollis) will open any day.
Lenten rose (Helleborus x orientalis) and Iris reticulata
will follow close behind. Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus
foetidus), a handsome and intriguing plant despite its
unfortunate name, may beat them all, having literally melted its
way up through the ice at ponds edge. Perhaps even more amazing is
the fact that the day these flowers open, bees will find them!
Green thumbs down
to the trash that's melting out of the snow banks. Vile sneaks!
We know we didn't scoop that debris into the snow as we piled it,
so how did it arrive there? Worst are those items that refuse to be
removed, such as shredded plastic bags with exposed portions
fluttering in the breeze while their bases are still frozen in
Originally published 3/6/04