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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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How to winterize rose bushes How do I winterize magnolia

Resolved Question:

How to winterize rose bushes?

How do I winterize magnolia bush?

How do I winterize rhododentrums?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question. Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

What is your gardening zone (zone 6, zone 3, etc.)? If you're not sure, give me your city and state.

Are these newly planted bushes or have they been established for some time?

Do you know what the variety name of your magnolia is?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thank you for your reply. I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota - South Eastern SD.


The plants are established plants. The magnolia is a bush and has purple prebloom buds which blossom out into white blooms. The white blooms hardly have a chance since earwigs eat the purple prebloom stage (I think, since I have found them in the prebloom) and the preblooms turn brown.


Thank you so very much for your help. I anxiously wait for your reply. Gene

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me, Gene. I'm working on your answer, and will post it as soon as it is typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Please don't reply to this post as that can lock me out so I won't be able to post your answer.

I'll be back in a few minutes.

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for waiting. To winterize rose bushes, you can use a styrofoam rose cone or, if you don’t like them, there are several other steps you can take. To use the rose cone, you’ll need to prune back the bush so it fits inside the cone. Then mound a few inches of soil around the base of the rose. Put the cone on and mound more soil over the lower edges to help hold it in place. I also like to place a brick on top because in my windy climate, the cone can be blown off otherwise.

To winterize roses without using cones, start by loosely tying the cones together to prevent them from being whipped around in the wind. Then cover the base of the bush with about a foot of soil. Mound straw on top of that for further protection. I do prefer the rose cones because they also protect my roses from rabbits and deer, which don’t seem to mind the thorns. Whichever method you choose, remove the protective materials before the buds break open in the spring. depending on this season’s weather, that could be as early as mid-March. If winter is more severe this year, it may not be until April.

For the rhododendrons, it’s most important to keep them well-watered until the ground freezes. The last watering of the season should be just before the ground freezes, probably in November. After the last watering, put down a layer of mulch that is 3-4 inches deep. Put it in close to the base of the plant. For further protection, you can use a rose cone on the rhododendrons, too, if they will fit inside one. However, unless you have a very severe winter, the watering and the mulch should provide enough protection.

There are a great many varieties of magnolias, and their hardiness varies a great deal. Since yours is an established bush, I’m going to assume it is hardy in your area. It should also be kept watered until the soil freezes. Put down a 3 inch deep layer of mulch that extends out as far as the tree’s drip line. This is the time to prune out any dead, unhealthy, or branches that rub on each other. If you want to fertilize, you can put down a light layer before putting the mulch in place. Fertilizer is only necessary if your soil is lacking in nutrients. No other winterization should be needed for the magnolia.

To control the earwigs, put down some diatomaceous earth all around the bush. It is available in many garden centers, or here is an online source:

In the spring, before the earwigs are active, put down more diatomaceous earth, and spray the tree with an insecticidal soap or a pyrethrin insecticide. The spray will need to be repeated every 7 to 10 days throughout the growing season.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope all your plants will come through the winter in good condition.


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