pruning roses - Knowledgebase Question

carnation, Wa
Question by attncarol
March 10, 2010
I have very tall climbing and regular roses that need to be pruned now, right? Cut them back to a foot above ground?

Answer from NGA
March 10, 2010


There are different strategies for climbers and shrub roses. Climbing roses bloom on new stems that grow on old wood. Pruning them back in late winter will encourage new, flowering stems. The first step is to look at the rose and decide on your desired shape. Then cut out old branches (canes) that bloomed the year before. Next, you need to cut out all the dead, weak, or thin canes, leaving four or five strong new ones. Cut back the canes you decided to leave. Cut them down to where they have four to five sets of leaflets. This will encourage lots of new growth, which is what this type of climber blooms from. After pruning each plant, clean your equipment with the rubbing alcohol in order to prevent the spread of disease between plants.

Shrub roses can be pruned a little differently. Start by selecting 3-5 of the healthiest looking canes to save and prune out all the rest. Then reduce the length of the canes you saved, down to as low as 12-18", cutting them each to an outside facing bud in the direction you want the new growth to take. Your finished rose should have a vase shape with an open center.

Best wishes with your roses.

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