The Q&A Archives: pruning back or cutting back

Question: i have some joseph's coat climbing roses on a trellis. do i cut them back? and where to on the plant?

Answer: Rather than cut them back, I would suggest taking them down off the trellis and laying them flat on the ground, then covering the canes with several inches of soil and some mulch. Also heap soil over the base of the plant to protect the graft union. Do this in late fall, after the plant has gone dormant and stopped growing. This should protect the plant from excess cold and wind this winter. Then in the spring, gradually uncover the canes and put them back up on the support. After the second year, you would begin to thin out a few of the oldest canes each spring. You can do this right after the main bloom, or in early spring. This helps assure an ongoing supply of vigorous new growth. Good luck!

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