The Q&A Archives: Gangley Shrub Roses

Question: This spring I purchased your Bonica Shrub Roses -- they are beautiful! Now that the first fall is setting in, I wonder how I should prune them. They are about 2 feet tall, but have random gangly 3 and 4ft canes -- not at all shrub like. How should I prune them this first year without hurting future season growth?

Answer: Bonica is a free-blooming shrub that produces clusters of ruffled, warm pink blossoms all summer long on arching canes that reach about four feet in length. Sounds like your roses are doing what comes naturally. Instead of pruning now, wait until late winter or early spring. If you prune too late in the season you'll encourage the plant to grow new stems, which will be tender and more susceptible to frost. If you wait until late winter or early spring to prune, you can remove any winter-damaged wood when you prune to shape. If the canes are really unruly, tie them together when the weather turns cold, to keep them from whipping around in winter winds.

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