Q: Is there anything I should do now to prepare my roses for winter?
A: Discontinue the fertilization of roses by the first week of August, approximately. Without supplemental fertilization, the plants will begin to shut down for the summer and will begin the process of storing nutrients to best survive the harshness of winter.
Discontinue deadheading spent flower blooms by Labor Day to avoid encouraging new growth that may be damaged by early cold temperatures, as we experienced in 2013. This will also encourage plants to produce hips, which are the fruits of roses that contain seeds. Many roses, especially old garden roses, produce large rose hips that provide good winter interest. Minor rose pruning can be done later in the season to minimize winter damage or breakage.
It’s important to continually rake up and remove all diseased foliage on a regular basis to prevent fungal spores from overwintering on plant material.