how do i cut back in the fall? - Knowledgebase Question

Hudson, Ma
Question by email4sunshi
October 6, 2009
Hi i have been recuperating from surgery for months & my 11 rose bushes in the back have been chewed & are pathetic. is the anyting i can now do to cut them and hope they return next spring? they were georgous when i got home from a month in the hospital in June. bugs got them & weeds are not going out of them too. they were planted in excellent soil with seaweed & i have 5 bags of mulch unused

Answer from NGA
October 6, 2009


I'm sure you are anxious to get into the garden! You will need to wait, though, to cut back your roses. If you prune them now they will respond with new growth which will not have time to harden off before a heavy frost. The best approach is to wait until frost kills the leaves which will signal the plant to go into dormancy. Once it is dormant you can prune it back in preparation for new spring growth. In the meantime, you can remove the weeds around the plants by digging or hoeing and then lay several thicknesses of newspapers on the soil and top it with some mulch. This will keep the weeds from growing back, plus provide some winter protection for the roots of your roses. After you've pruned them back you can provide some winter protection, either in the form of rose cones (available at your local garden center) or by mounding up organic mulch, pine needles, shredded leaves, etc. over the plants. Best wishes with your recovery and with your landscape!

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