Stress-Free Rose Pruning: Pruning Tips!

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Stress-Free Rose Pruning

By zuzu
February 12, 2013

This is the time of year when many gardeners feel anxious about the approaching rose pruning season. Much of this anxiety stems from the rules we were once taught. Pruning is much easier than these rules suggest, however, and it may not even be necessary in your garden.

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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Feb 11, 2013 8:56 PM CST

Plants Admin

Great reminder for me not to stress too much about not getting the pruning done this winter while I am laid up with a bum foot. I'll just do a light clean up later. Thumbs up
Great article Zuzu, bet that will help a lot for anyone intimidated by rose care.
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[Last edited by Calif_Sue - Apr 14, 2013 10:10 AM (+)]
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Feb 11, 2013 9:20 PM CST
Finally! Pruning demystified. Thank you Zuzu.
Porkpal
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Skiekitty
Feb 12, 2013 9:59 AM CST
One thing I wish you'd mentioned is winterkill. Not something you personally have to deal with, but pruning winterkill is a necessity. I've left roses with winterkill alone (not pruned the dead off as I didn't know it was dead), and had a VERY late start to blooms on those plants, if any at all. Winterkill is easily spotted.. the canes will be green up to a point, then they turn a purplish black. I can show pictures of winterkill if you need/want...
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Feb 12, 2013 10:14 AM CST
'Taking my iPad out this afternoon to see examples again before I prune anymore. In Austin, we're supposed to prune on Valentine's Day. Love all the how to photos.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Feb 12, 2013 2:10 PM CST

Plants Admin

Winterkill is the same thing as dead, diseased, or damaged wood, Toni, and should be removed as soon as you see it.
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
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Roses_R_Red
Feb 12, 2013 4:22 PM CST
Oh, I'm so happy that you posted this article!! I guess the only thing I'll do is prune off the black "die back"!! I'll be looking forward to really tall and full rose bushes this year. Thank you.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 12, 2013 5:14 PM CST
Great article Zuzu!
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Feb 12, 2013 5:31 PM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks to everyone for the compliments.

Sandi, I use holidays to remember gardening dates too: Thanksgiving for bringing the tender tropicals inside, Christmas for pruning the roses, Lincoln's Birthday for pruning the fuchsias, Fourth of July for dividing the irises, etc.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
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Skiekitty
Feb 12, 2013 7:00 PM CST
Zuzu - that's a great way to remember.. If the seasons cooperated with the calendar!! Only holiday I can depend on is 4th of July .. That's always hot!
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Feb 13, 2013 7:25 PM CST
I loved this article. I will never worry about pruning my few rose bushes every again.
Thank you so much Zuzu. Group hug
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Feb 13, 2013 7:49 PM CST

Plants Admin

That was my goal, Lynn. I just want everyone to relax. Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Feb 13, 2013 7:55 PM CST
I took a big sigh of relief after I read your article.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 13, 2013 8:01 PM CST
My sister in-law had the most beautiful roses one year because the deer trimmed them for her. They had chewed the canes down quite a bit and she was worried that they had suffered. Turned out, the deer did a great job with trimming them. The roses were spectacular that year. Green Grin!
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Feb 13, 2013 8:05 PM CST

Plants Admin

My friend Fallon at Garden Valley Ranch actually cried one year when she saw what the deer had done to a big display bed of hybrid teas. They left only stubs where the canes had been. Much to her surprise, the next flush of roses was gorgeous, with the longest stems ever.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
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Skiekitty
Feb 13, 2013 8:15 PM CST
I, luckily, don't have deer problems, but 2 years ago I accidentally .. Trimmed? *Blush* *Blush* one of my rose bushes with a weed wacker. I was using it to trim down the weeds/grass around the bush and BZZT!! took all the canes right off. I was absolutely stunned at what I had done. Luckily the rose *did* come back... But other than trimming off the winter kill (which is usually 1/3 to 3/4 of the poor bush, depending on the winter) & deadheading, I don't trim at all.
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 13, 2013 8:30 PM CST
I have cut back my John Davis a few times to 2 feet a few times. I like it to have blooms all the way up the trellis and after a few years it gets "bare legs". One year, I was feeling especially creative and I looped the canes back down to the ground. It created a very different display and was much larger.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Feb 13, 2013 8:32 PM CST

Plants Admin

I love to loop the canes of climbers. I also like to wrap them around pillars.
Name: Jeri Nicholson
City of Central, La.
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jeri11
Feb 16, 2013 9:27 AM CST
Thanks for this wonderful informative article. It will be making this job much less stressful this year!!
"Faith is not about everything turning out OK;
Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
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Horseshoe
Feb 16, 2013 11:38 AM CST
What a nice article, zuzu. Guess I should tag this under "stress relief in the rose garden" since in the long run it relieves more stress and worry about our plants for the long term as well as at pruning time, eh? I know rose pruning is a big worry or headache to quite a few folks I know, then they wonder and watch if they did a good job. (Guilty here!)

And I'm in awe at your photos! Those roses are beauts! Very impressive!

Shoe
[Last edited by Horseshoe - Feb 16, 2013 11:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Feb 16, 2013 4:49 PM CST

Plants Admin

One of the things I appreciate most about AllThingsPlants is the emphasis on stress-free gardening across the board. I shy away from websites implying that gardening is somehow comparable to brain surgery, entailing a myriad of rules requiring great skill for their implementation. ATP is made up of people who love to grow plants and who know that gardening isn't rocket science. Our website is relaxing and never intimidating, don't you agree?

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