The Q&A Archives: Carpet Rose

Question: We have 3 yellow flower carpet rose bushes, 1 year old, planted in a sunny spot. They grow straight up in the air, about 2 or 3 feet and are very straggly. They do bloom however. We have cut them back severaltimes this past summer in hopes that they would bush out but to no avail. The question is, should we cut them back severely for the winter, in hopes that they will, hopefully, come back in the spring in a bush, not a single sprout in the air? We have fertilized faithfully. Also after cutting them back, if we are supposed to, should they be mulched? Called the local garden center and a lady said to contact you as she was not an expert and there was no one available at this time to answer my question. I saved the tag on our buckets of roses and we followed all instructions that Monrovia included. The product number was 018242. Our roses certainly don't look like other carpet roses in the area but maybe ours just aren't mature enough. Thank you for answering our questions.

Answer: Carpet Roses are among the most minimal maintenance roses. These hardy landscape roses should not require special winter care as you might need for the tender grafted hybrid tea roses. A year round layer of organic mulch several inches thick should be sufficient to suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. Required pruning is absolutely minimal: in the spring, trim out any winter damaged canes. During the season, should a particular cane grow out of bounds a bit, just trim it back for neatness. Or, your pruning can be more intensive. Early each spring simply trim the entire plant back very short to encourage dense new growth -- you could use a hedge trimmers. Alternatively, every other year, you could trim out some of the oldest canes by cutting them at the base. It takes some time and you need to use a good sharp bypass hand pruner to do it this way. Either method will help keep vigorous new growth coming in and keep air flow moving through the center of the plant. You will also be able to keep the plant tidy although their normal shapes are fairly regular regardless of you pruning methods. Flowers are produced on new stems, so early spring pruning will result in the most flowers. Try withholding fertilizer until mid-summer. You may be overdoing the nitrogen which will result in lots of green growth at the expense of flowers. Hope all these suggestions result in lots of blooms next summer! Enjoy your roses!

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