Dead or Dormant? How to Inspect Your Hardy Roses After a Freeze

April 4, 2019 Published by Leave your thoughts

Not too many people are visiting nurseries in Fargo, ND in the middle of winter. There wouldn’t be much to see! Most perennials are cut down to the base for the season and other plants just don’t have the same appeal during colder months as they do during warmer ones.

Case in point: hardy roses, like Winnipeg Parks, Hope for Humanity, Pavement Series roses and others. These are stunning blooms during peak spring and summer months, but look as though they’re dead and decrepit during the winter months!

So how do you really know if a plant is dead or just dormant after a freeze? In the case of hardy roses and similar flora, there are a few simple ways to tell. Here are a few tips for determining dead vs. dormant.

The Scrape Test

Scrape the bark away gently to see what the underneath layer looks like. If the bark peels away easy and you’re left with green filament under it, your plant is alive and well! It’s dormant, ready to spring up next year. If, however, the interior is brown, black or brittle, your plant is in trouble.

For most hardy plants, green just below the surface of the bark means the plant is ready to thrive if planted in the ground. Even a late season frost won’t give these plants too much trouble if they’re well-planted. In fact, the first jump in temperature will likely cause them to shoot right up!

Root Checks

If cut down to the base, you can still tell how healthy a plant is by taking a peek at its roots. For potted roses, tip them upside down out of the pot and observe the root structure. If there are lots of roots and the structure is strong, the plant is very likely biding its time until spring again. Shriveled roots or visible decay mean your plant is dead.

Ask an Expert!

If you’re a lover of winter hardy roses, but aren’t sure if yours are alive and dormant or dead altogether, you can always ask for the help of a professional. Bringing in a photo of your roses to S&S Landscaping Nursery in Fargo, ND will help you get some insight as to whether or not your plant is thriving or suffering.

At S & S Landscaping Co. Inc., our team is extremely familiar with Zone 3 winter hardy roses, including Winnipeg Parks, Hope for Humanity, Pavement Series and others. We can help you assess the status of your rose plants, to determine what their condition is and what, if anything, they need to thrive into beautiful blooms.

A freeze can be devastating for many plants, but take heart in the knowledge that hardy roses are more resilient than you realize! If you’re waiting on growth from your plants but are concerned that they may be stunted, we can help. Contact our experts today to learn more about winter hardy roses and how to tell if yours are dormant or dead. We look forward to working with you soon!

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