The Q&A Archives: Tree Rose Care

Question: I have planted tree roses. How much and how often do they need water? How do I prune them?

Answer: Most landscape shrubs will require about one-inch of water per week, depending upon weather and soil type. If you create a basin around the stem of your tree roses and flood the basin, you'll be directing the moisture to the roots of the plant. To judge whether or not you've applied enough water to wet the entire root mass, dig down into the soil next to the plant to see how far the water has penetrated. If it doesn't travel to the depth of the root mass, flood the basin 2-3 times in succession, instead of just once. Tree roses are simply standard roses that are budded or grafted onto tall trunks. They are more prone to winter damage because they're tall and difficult to protect from freeze or drying winds. They're pruned like shrub roses; throughout the growing season when you remove spent blooms and cut back the flowering stems, and in the dormant season to help renew the plant and get it ready to produce new flowering stems. Your winter weather is mild, so you will want to prune in January. Begin by removing any old wood that's gray or shriveled. Then cut back the remaining canes by about one-third. Try to keep the center of the plant open to promote good air circulation, and always prune to an outside facing bud so new growth will be on the outside, rather than the inside, or center of the plant. When cutting back flowering stems in the summer, be sure to leave two sets of five-leaflet leaves on the remaining stem.

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