How do I go about protecting my roses for winter?
In areas of the country where winter temperatures dip into the single digits or colder, many types of roses need winter protection. Protect hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, and climbing roses after temperatures drop into the low 20s a few times but before the soil freezes. There are several methods of protection you can use.
Tie the canes together, then mound soil 8-12 inches high around the base of the plants. Cut long canes back to 30-36 inches to prevent them from whipping in winter winds. Enclose the mounded plants with a wire cage or fence and cover the soil mound with leaves, straw, or evergreen boughs after the ground freezes.
Alternatively you can use mulch instead of soil. Mound up the mulch 15-18 inches around the plant's base. You could also use a wire-mesh cylinder or a rose cone filled with mulch. For maximum protection, you can completely bury the rose. Dig a trench next to the plant large enough to accommodate all the canes. (Prune back excessively long canes so you won't have to dig as much.) Gently pry loose the roots on the side of the plant opposite the trench. Tie the canes together, tip the plant into the trench, and cover with soil. After the soil freezes, add mulch as additional protection.
To winterize climbing roses, remove them from their support, then lay them on the ground and cover the canes with 6-8 inches of soil. Mound the base of the climber with 8-12 inches of soil. In all cases, in spring, gradually remove the mulch and soil as growth begins.