The Q&A Archives: Renovating Rose Bush

Question: I moved into a home last summer that has one rosebush in the middle of the front yard. I have no idea what kind it is or how old it is. Last year there were a few roses on it, but I want to bring to full life. What do I need to do?

Answer: Since it's early in the season, I'd start with pruning. Here are the basics: In the spring, remove 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.

For best performance, roses need full sunshine, moist soil and regular feeding.

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