Pruning Roses - Knowledgebase Question

Brookline, MA
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Question by afeins
March 20, 1998
I have 9 beautiful Betty Preyer rose bushes. I prune them in the spring. Please give me advice as to the best way to shape them.

Answer from NGA
March 20, 1998
First, you must cut all frost-damaged, dead, injured or diseased shoots back to a new eye lower down the stem that is facing OUTWARD from the plant. Remember, wood that has lived past its prime won't regenerate, nor will thicker growth develop on any new stem than the branch from which it grows.

Cut the remaining canes to the desired height. Make sure that each 45 degree cut is made 1/4 inch above a swelling bud, again, remembering that it should point OUT from the center of the bush. The reason you do that is because roses are susceptible to mold and fungus. The more free air you have moving through the bush the better. By opening up the center of the bush, you give it that opportunity.

Then make up you OWN mind about the shape you'd like your bushes to have. As you prune, keep stepping back and checking your progress. You wouldn't want to get TOO carried away.

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