Ugh, there is nothing less appealing to me than dragging the hose out in the middle of winter. I mean come on, my garden looks like a wasteland and my fingers are aching at the mere thought of connecting the hose. The reality is, winter can be one of the driest and most stressful seasons even in dormancy. Winter water is often overlooked but can be key to the overall health of your roses come spring time. So yes, it’s time to keep an eye on the forecast and get that hose out.
In the winter, I don’t have a set watering schedule that I follow. I prefer to monitor the soil moisture by digging down a couple of inches with my fingers and make a subjective assessment. Use a shovel it’s frozen solid and, if you want to be more scientific, you can use a moisture meter. The key point is to realize that your soil may be dry and stressful to your roses.
To alleviate the problem, I tend to water a little deeper but less frequently in the winter. I use an old-fashioned sprinkler to do the job, watering for 10 – 20 minutes in an area maybe 2 or 3 times a season. However, I will be the first to admit that this may not be the best way. One of our local rosarians uses a soaker hose wound around her rose beds. I know of others who hand water lightly on a more regular basis. When it does snow, my neighbors laugh at me shoveling (carefully) all of the driveway snow into my gardens. Really, I don’t think there’s a bad way to get water to our roses in the winter. Our end goal is to keep moisture consistently in the soil to alleviate stress on our plants. It doesn’t have to be perfect to help. Just remember to disconnect the hose!