Thank You, Zuzu. I read the article, and I am very surprised about not stripping the leaves, something I've always done (they say it's to prevent disease). In fact, I was organizing my many rose books a couple of weeks ago, and ended up reading most of The Rose Bible by Rayford Clayton Reddell who was a rose nurseryman in Petaluma, CA, which I imagine is Zone 9, and he says to strip all the leaves off (or cut to prevent damage) two weeks before pruning, because that will allow the bud to swell so you can see the best place to prune the cane where good growth will occur. So armed with that new knowledge, I began stripping most of my potted roses that are one or two years old, all my tree roses, a few in-ground roses, and all of the smaller and actually weaker roses, one newly transplanted, at the public rose garden where I volunteer. Then, I went ahead and pruned most of my potted roses, anyways. I've almost always adhered to the "less than a pencil width" because I found less than that, the blooms will be too heavy for the stem, esp. on my large (inground) Abraham Darby.
But it does explain why we had an offer by another experienced rose nurseryman from the Bay Area who had volunteered to do our public garden in Nov., and we turned them down because we thought it was important to leave the leaves on as long as possible (they also strip the leaves after pruning). Now I learn from you that Nov. could be a viable option (they also put down slow release fertilizer at that time as well which seemed too early to me) with the leaves being left on, for Zone 9. The former chairperson of this garden who mentored me has said that there are as many different opinions and ways of doing things as there are experts. The local ARS (which I joined for the first time last rose season and attended 4 rose pruning workshops) says to strip all the leaves off after pruning and suggest spraying with a dormant spray. It can be confusing, but I actually like hearing all the differing views and considering each. I guess the bottom line is roses are tough and there's no one way of rose culture.
What we do want, are roses, roses, roses, and what we want to avoid are plants that for one reason or other are no longer producing roses or no new canes, and what you get are a lot of "blind eyes" on the canes they do have. I've dealt with that before, and saw the bush die before it could be saved or rejuvenated. Now it looks like one of my rose trees is full of blind eyes forming so I plan to prune it down to what looks like viable blooming buds to me. I think that would have been avoided if I had stopped cutting roses in Oct. like it's suggested around here, and letting the bush go "dormant."
But thank you, again for sharing the enlightening post and article from your experience.