The Q&A Archives: Denuded Roses

Question: I have two hybrid roses which are almost devoid of leaves. Will the rosebushes make a comeback this season? They are not dead, just have very, very few leaves. They get Southeast sun.

Answer: Now's the time to prune your roses, to encourage healthy new shoots, leaves and flowers. If your plant looks a little bare, it may not be getting the all day sunshine and frequent feeding it needs. Begin by removing the dead and damaged canes as far back as necessary. Then, remove any suckers that arise from below the graft union, if there is one (the swelling near the base of the plant). Next, select the healthiest canes (thicker and bright green) and cut off the rest. If your roses are just a couple of years old, save about 3-5 canes. Save more on older plants. Lastly, cut the flowering canes back by one-third to one-half. Make your cuts about 1/4" above an outward-facing bud.

Once pruned, provide regular deep, thorough soakings of the soil, and feed when new leaves appear.

Your shrubs should regain their health with a little TLC throughout the season.

I hope so!

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