Roses forum→Advice after landscapers mangled rose bush

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JGro
May 23, 2020 6:47 PM CST
Hello fellow rose enthusiasts! We have a large rose bush in our front yard that unfortunately the landscapers we hired last summer (2019) mangled/butchered. It was previously very large, lush, and wide. Unbeknownst to us when we hired this crew to do some trimming and weed pulling, they cut off a substantial portion of the branches/leaves. This year, the roses have come in, but the rose bush appears more like a tall tree/bouquet in its overall shape. In other words, the bottom portion looks like a brown "trunk" with a flourish of roses at the top (and the overall appearance is lopsided because of the poor job they did). I'm not sure what to do and am seeking advice; I don't want to trim it further for fear of losing what's left. But I'm also not sure if we're ever going to regain the growth in the lower part and if the rose bush will have a wide/broad/full appearance again (as opposed to simply growing taller and remaining narrow in the lower part; I don't know if that poses a problem for the growth/health of the plant if it's not growing outward and laterally do the degree it was previously since the growth has been redirected to the top). I'm including some before (2018) and after (2020) photos so you can see what we're dealing with. I have no experience gardening so I'm looking for advice in terms of whether to prune again (and if so, pointers on where) or if we can expect the plant to regain its former shape in a year or two if we leave it as is. Thanks for your attention!
Thumb of 2020-05-24/JGro/367a00


Thumb of 2020-05-24/JGro/358d22


Thumb of 2020-05-24/JGro/784b7e


Thumb of 2020-05-24/JGro/73682c

Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
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jerijen
May 24, 2020 5:17 PM CST
Which photos are "before" and which are "after"?

Roses have a tendency to push their newer growth toward the top, and be barer on the bottom. (My husband once referred to Hybrid Tea Roses as "ugly plants with a bare bottom")

I would say that the photo at the top has more thin canes where you might want fewer, sturdier ones.
Name: seil
St Clair Shores, MI (Zone 6a)
Roses Garden Photography Region: Michigan
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seilMI
May 24, 2020 7:36 PM CST
Does your rose bloom all season or just once in the spring? If it repeats all summer wait until the first flush is finished and then you can prune it back by about 1/3 to 1/2 and it should grow a little bushier. You should also go throught it and remove any dead canes. In order to tell if a cane is alive or dead at the top of the cane cut off a small piece and look at the center of the cane. If it is white or greenish and moist it is alive. If it is tan or brown and dry it is dead. Continue down the cane cutting off small pieces until you find the white/green moist center. If you are down to the bottom without finding live cane remove the entire cane as close to the base as possible. Once you clean out the dead wood it will be easier to see what you have left to work with.

Pruning a rose generally encourages new growth but you don't want to take it all back at once. Do some this year and then again next spring and it should revive the rose. In mean time you could plant a shorter rose in front of it to hide those bare knees!
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
Image
jerijen
May 25, 2020 1:41 PM CST
What Seil said. Hurray!

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