Cold-hardy roses without all the fuss



Roses bring beauty to any landscape, but not every Minnesota gardener wants to get all scientific about them. And who can keep up with deadheading?

University of Minnesota Extension has been a part of the national American Rose Trials for Sustainability (A.R.T.S.) program since 2015. The goal is to identify roses that perform well in a given region when grown under “minimal input conditions.”


close up of very full and ruffled pale pink roses in bloom with a few still just buds.

Head Over Heels won the Local Artist Award for the climate region that includes Minnesota. Photo: Bailey Nurseries


For gardeners, this means roses that survive without pesticides, fertilizer and winter cover other than the typical wood mulch and snow. That’s right, no tipping, burying or forcing them to wear the Styrofoam dunce cap.

The roses are watered as needed in the first year to establish a strong root system.

Randy Nelson, Extension educator in Clay County, manages the trial at a city park in Dilworth, where city leaders and staff have welcomed the research with enthusiasm. While park visitors enjoy the roses in the summer, harsh winters in Clay County can get as cold as -35 degrees.

In one of his earlier studies, in Moorhead beginning in 2008, Nelson evaluated roses using the Texas A&M Earth-Kind Environmental Landscape Management Program. Many of the same principles used in the Earth-Kind study are also used in A.R.T.S.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers help evaluate cultivars, rating the roses for their foliage, flowers and plant form. Cultivars that meet the A.R.T.S. criteria are given the Local Artist award, and those that meet criteria in four or more regions are given the A.R.T.S. Master Rose award.

These studies provide nurseries, landscapers and consumers with evidence-based regional recommendations.

Visit the A.R.T.S. website to see the winning roses for our northern region.



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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