The Q&A Archives: Rose Pruning

Question: I need to know how to cut my roses back for fall and winter months.

Answer: There are only a few things to remember when pruning roses in your warm-winter region. First, blooms are produced on new growth, so unless pruning promotes strong new growth, flowers will come on spindly outer twigs. Second, the more healthy wood you retain, the bigger the plant will be, and the bigger the blooms will be. Nutrients are stored in woody canes, so a larger plant is a stronger plant. Keeping these things in mind, prune conservatively, and never prune a vigorous plant down too hard. Rose pruning is done at the end of the dormant season (January), when growth buds begin to swell. Begin by pruning out any dead canes, and any that are crossing through the center of the plant, and any that are rubbing against other canes. Then remove one-third to one-half of the length of the remaining canes. This will encourage new flowering wood to develop on mature healthy canes. There's an excellent publication on pruning in general, called 'Pruning' by Christopher Brickell. ISBN# 0-671-65841-7. Your library might have a copy, or your local bookstore can obtain one for you. Hope the above information helps you grow spectacular roses!

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