Re: Rose Care -- Preparation for winter in New Jersey
i just put down a bunch of crushed leaves to protect the roots from excessive cold. i do a layer, lightly packed down, 6 to 8 inches high. i use the cheap wire fencing to hold the leaves in place.
i don't usually do too pruning in fall - except for the extremely long canes, that is. i'll just bring everything down a foot or so and make all the canes the same height and then, in spring - around st. pat's day - i do a harder pruning.
others advocate doing the hard prune in the fall.
i don't like to do it then because, if it warms up again, then the bush will start growing again and any new growth will freeze when the temps go down again. so i do the major bit in the spring while the bushes are still dormant.
for me, and you, st pat's day is about when they start coming out of dormancy - depending on how the winter is (cold-wise) it'll be just before or just after that day.