It's time to prune roses

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yearly rose pruning is required to maintain the size and vigor of most rose bushes. They should be pruned before the plants begin to grow but after the most severe winter weather is over. Early to mid-February is a good time to do this work, but as this year is progressing now is a good time.

Leather gloves and a pair of sharp shears are all that are needed.

To prune bush roses (hybrid teas, floribunda, multifloras), remove all dead and diseased stems. Make all cuts 1/4 inch above a strong outward facing bud. Next, remove all weak wood that is smaller than a pencil in diameter and all canes that are growing to the center of the bush. Finally, shape the plant by cutting the remaining canes back to a uniform height, usually 24 to 30 inches for strong plants. Most plants have four to eight strong canes after pruning. If fewer more spectacular blossoms are desired, the plants may be cut back to 16 inches.

Ever blooming climbers usually do not require annual pruning. Pruning should be performed to invigorate older plants and to remove weak canes. Pruning should be limited to that required to keep the plant in bounds and to remove the old canes as they cease active growth and flowering. They should be pruned in the spring before growth begins.

The older climbing roses that produce only one flush of blooms should not be pruned until after they have bloomed. The oldest canes should then be removed to stimulate new vigorous growth which will produce next year's blooms. They may require some corrective pruning during the growing season to keep the plant in bounds

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