Roses forum→Rose pruning

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Southeast Michigan; zone 5 or
KraftyNutkin
Aug 22, 2020 3:42 PM CST
Hi all! Can you trim/prune a rose to maintain a certain height? For example, if the estimated plant height is expected to be 5ft, can you trim it to maintain it at 4ft?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 22, 2020 6:11 PM CST
Yes, you can prune to maintain a certain size but, in winter, you should be pruning way back and then allowing the rose to grow into the size you want. Light summer pruning (while deadheading to encourage continued bloom) will keep it at whatever height you want.

In zone 5, cover the whole rose bush in leaves or bark or... to keep it from freezing. Then do your heavy pruning in spring. If you prune too early and have a killing freeze, your rose will be even smaller next spring.

But, your roses might be covered in 10 ft of snow all winter. D'Oh! My roses are at the mercy of the temperatures (very little snow in the desert). I only grow self-rooted roses as the grafts can't handle the temperatures.
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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Aug 22, 2020 7:00 PM CST
In my garden roses are forgiving. I have always accomplished my heavy pruning in the spring but last fall I had some health challenges and had one of my garden helpers take them all down to about 3 feet. They required very little touch-up in the spring and have been gorgeous and I didn't need to look at those ugly tall brown rose bushes all winter. I have never mounded for winter. I dead-head all summer and have steady bloom. I remove candelabras after they bloom. I don't spray and only have a little problem with aphids, thrips, and powdery mildew. I throw a little 10-10-10 around the bushes in early spring. I overhead water every few days. I would love a good snow cover this winter. Having said all of this I realize that there are different challenges for growing roses in areas different from my own. Experiment and see what works for you.
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Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
[Last edited by Paul2032 - Aug 23, 2020 1:54 PM (+)]
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Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
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jerijen
Aug 24, 2020 11:16 AM CST
In Z5, your rose may never reach the "expected" height to begin with.
Name: Margie
NY (Zone 7a)
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MargieNY
Aug 24, 2020 12:31 PM CST
Paul2032 said:In my garden roses are forgiving. I have always accomplished my heavy pruning in the spring but last fall I had some health challenges and had one of my garden helpers take them all down to about 3 feet. They required very little touch-up in the spring and have been gorgeous and I didn't need to look at those ugly tall brown rose bushes all winter.




A few yrs ago, Ludwig's Roses from South Africa came over to the USA to set up shop and began offering their roses. I had a long discussion on the phone and one thing the rep from Ludwig's kept emphasizing is I should prune the roses in late Fall/Autumn. I still remember him repeating this advise over and over again - "try it". I was not given an explanation to the advantage of pruning in late Fall. In the meantime, I was sent Ludwig's "The Yellow", which is doing very well & dismissed his advise. I have read repeatedly that roses should be pruned in the Spring. I have also read that the leaves of rose bushes should be pulled off in late fall/Autumn. That initially sounded crazy to me as it would cause wounds in the plants and a route for fungus infection.
A long time ago, I read about pruning in the late Fall. I came upon this article from the "Rose Magazine" and here is the paragraph that stood out:

"There have been other mistakes and miscalculations in the rose garden. On one hand I have read that roses should not be pruned until early spring. And yet I have seen roses pruned by the end of November. Of course, once-blooming climbers should only be pruned after blooming. This is not the issue here. I only speak of the average roses that need pruning for health and vigor. I found out the hard way that roses are best pruned before winter. One year I had left the roses as were with the intention of a good spring prune in February. I discovered, after nasty wind storms and some heavy snowfalls, that many long and thick canes had broken off at their bases. I realized that had I pruned them down by one third at least before winter, they would not have been damaged so severely."

In the Fall, I have in the past, pruned long canes that might whip around in the wind & any dead wood etc. I do not fertilize in the Fall either. I thought long and hard about the above article and the advise Ludwig's suggested and came to this conclusion. It makes sense to prune in the late Fall to remove any canes that may have canker - that you may not have seen until cutting into the canes and dead wood. Additionally, you would have less of a chance of overwintering fungus because you would be removing most of the culprits and removing most of the infected blackspot leaves. Any remaining leaves could be removed by not pulling them off but, by cutting them off. It seems to me, by pruning earlier you are helping to prevent any overwintering problems, including wind damage. In general, I do not remove more than a 1/4 to 1/3 of any bush and, in most cases, not any roses younger than ones that were planted in the ground less than 2 -3 years.
I have decided to prune them this Fall. My question to @Paul2032 is: when your helper pruned your roses, had the roses gone dormant?
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[Last edited by MargieNY - Aug 25, 2020 8:37 AM (+)]
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