Pruning Back Roses - Knowledgebase Question

Philadelphia, PA
Question by vowens
May 21, 2001
I pruned my four hybrid tea roses down to the base and covered with mulch in November for the winter like I've done for the past 3 years. However this year only one has grown back so far. Did I prune too much, or did our harsh winter kill them? I love my roses and I hope I haven't killed them. I gave them their two doses of Miracle Grow for Roses already this season.


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Answer from NGA
May 21, 2001

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Hybrid tea roses can be finicky and may fail to overwinter for any number of reasons, ranging from a culmination of stresses, to temperature fluctuations, to poor drainage in the planting area. Usually, if they fail to come back promptly with vigorous growth in the spring they are weakened and will not perform all that well for the season, and may eventually die.

In general, it is better to prune them back by only about half in the fall (enough to reduce wind damage) and then prune again a bit harder in the spring to remove any winter damage and to shape the plant. The harder the spring pruning, the fewer, but larger, blooms you'll have.

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