Over the past several years we have developed a method for winterizing our roses that has worked well in protecting them during harsh winters. Every year we mound compost over the crown of the plant once daytime temperatures are around freezing. Some years we’ve experimented with adding salt-marsh hay over the rest of the plant in addition to the compost to provide another layer of insulation. Along with protection from the elements, we also bait our roses to prevent extensive loss due to voles and mice. Here are our results:

2012 with just compost- 5% loss and 10% severe dieback in the spring.

2013 with just compost yielded similar results.

2014 composted leaf mulch was mounded over the crowns of all roses, followed by salt-marsh hay, the combination of which protected the roses with a 95% success rate.

Method replicated for winters of 2015-2016  with similar success rate.

Winters of 2017-2018 as well as 2019-2020 we omitted salt marsh hay as we had an issue obtaining product from our source. Results over these two winters showed that the use of compost for protection works just as well as the salt marsh hay. Die back has been variable and depends more on temperatures and conditions over the winter than on the product used for protection.