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Winter performance of David Austin roses in Zone 6a

Sam The Roseman (SE Michigan-zone6a)
4 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Hi All. I'd like to provide some info on the winter performance for DA roses in my garden in their second season (I added them last season. All are bare-root when purchased). As I want to grow most of them as climbers, I really care about the cane hardiness and how much winter die back they suffer from SE Michigan (zone 6a) winters. This year, we just had a brutal winter with the record low temperature dropping to well below -30F for about a week in Jan. Surprisingly, most of my DA roses suffers little cane damage and starts leafing out at this point. All of my roses are fully exposed to the elements. The only winter protection that they had was about 2-3 inches of snow covering their bases.

Gertrude Jekyll (tip damage only)

Scepter'd isle (20% die back)

Lady of Shallot (50% die back. Some canes only show damage at the tips)

Crown princess of Margarita (30% die back)

Graham Thomas (die back to about 6 inches above snow line)

Constance Spry (tip damage)

Jude the obscure (to snow line)

Wollerton old hall (30% die back. Most long canes survive)

Heritage (can't comment on this one as it had poor growth since last season)

Spirit of freedom (30% die back. Most long canes survive)

Other non-Austin roses:

New Dawn (little or no damage at all)

Zephirine Drouhin (little or no damage at all)

Red Eden (to snowline)

Pink Eden (to snowline)

Earth Angel (tip damage)

This year, I've added 4 more roses to replace the Heritage and Graham Thomas (planted at the prime location on the side of our patio door):

Teasing Georgia

Mary rose

Princess Alexandra of Kent


Updated 4/20/2021:

None of my DA roses suffer any significant cold damage after the last 2 winters (2019/2020 & 2020/2021). Gertrude Jekyll had some canker which killed about 30% of its canes last year. They all started as small black spots on the green tissue, then slowly spread and girdled the canes in the course of a few weeks in early spring. Sadly many canes already started to bloom before they had to be cut down. This year, GJ seems to be healthier with very little sign of canker so far.

Also order some new roses this season:

James Galway

Gabriel Oak

Eustacia Vye

Claire Austin

St Swithun

The mill on the floss

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