The Q&A Archives: Pruning Roses

Question: I've just purchased a home that had been empty for at least three years,there are about fifteen rose bushes in varying condition and size and location in the yard.The previous owner and I talked and during the fifteen years she owned the house she didn't plant or garden(yard service).How would you advise me to proceed with the roses to get them in hand and healthy?I have no experiance with roses.Thank You,Terry Tweddle

Answer: Rosarians I know recommend a major pruning when the plant is dormant in late winter to ready it for peak bloom in spring. This would be in mid- to late February in your gardening region. Different rose types require different types of pruning, but typically it's best not to cut more than 1/3 of the plant back at a time. Then a light pruning follows in September, which can promote more bloom. The book, "Roses for Dummies" can provide more specifics on pruning. Also, check for rose societies/garden clubs in your area. They often give pruning demonstrations which are very helpful to observe if you've never done it before. The American Rose Society, PO Box 30,000, Shreveport, LA, 71130-0030, phone 318/938 5402.

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