This spring, I planted climbing roses that are now weaving through a supporting trellis. I have read where the canes should be removed from the trellis, laid down, and mulched for winter protection. Is this necessary? (Besides the hassle, I am worried that I might break the canes when I untwine them from the trellis). If it is necessary, what do people do with their climbing roses when they are a few years old and there are numerous, thick canes?
Climbing roses should be given some amount of winter protection in order to assure survival during Michigan winters. Climbing roses planted in open, exposed areas, especially those receiving northwest winter winds, should be treated as described in the question.
Removing the canes from the trellis, laying them down, and covering them with soil is a little extra work, but it is the best way to protect the rose and your investment. Climbing roses in less exposed areas can be protected by wrapping the canes with burlap and mounding soil over the crown of the plant.
Wait until the leaves have browned and the plant has gone dormant before initiating any winter protection measures. This is usually late November for our climate. Remove the winter protection prior to growth in the spring. Covering too early or leaving the rose covered too late in the spring can both harm the plant and reduce its chance of overwintering successfully.