Trimming an old climbing Rose Bush??? - Knowledgebase Question

Grandview, Mi
Question by MLSBOWER
October 1, 2009
I have an old climbing rose bush that has never been trimed. Can I trim it back some in the Fall and then the rest in the Spring? This bush has a lot of dead limbs and the leaves turn yellow with black spots in late June and they all fall off so rest of summer just bare limbs.. how ugly.

Answer from NGA
October 1, 2009


Spring is the best time to prune your climber. Fall pruning can encourage new growth which will not be winter hardy. The plant will suffer some dieback so I think it is easier to simply prune in the spring. You can remove dead wood at any time of the year, but leave the major pruning for the early spring. Remove about 1/4 of the older wood in the spring. Then, after the plants flowering period is over, prune the remaining canes as severely as necessary for size and shape, and trim the remaining lateral canes back to 2 or 3 buds. This should result in lots of new flowering growth. If black spot is a problem with your rose each year you might want to use the neem oil based product called Rose Defense. It will help control black spot.

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