Roses forum: cutting back shrub rose DayDream

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Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Apr 27, 2014 7:49 AM CST
This rose has been in the same place for around 20-25 years.

Looking at it this year to see what damage our very cold, very long winter may have done, I realized it has become a jumbled mass of small branches with a few larger canes. Looks like this is due to canes being cut back here and there on it though the years, then they branched out… over and over.

It sure looks to me like it could benefit from a severe cutting back, and a lot of those small branches cut out. But, I only grow a few shrub roses and am not really knowledgeable on roses. I've taken pruning classes on trees and shrubs, but nothing on roses. Maybe that is why it looks like it does. Rolling my eyes.

I am not sure if you treat a shrub rose like - oh, say a Lilac and only take out 1/3 of it in any one year - or can I do a severe cutting back and reshape and let it grow back out again? If I can cut it back all at once, how long should I leave the canes?

It has not started to leaf out yet, but with the warm days, it won't be long. Would this be the best time to cut it back? This is when I normally trim out winter damaged canes.

I know it is a very vigorous plant. You can see the comments I made when I uploaded photos to the database a couple years ago.

Is this a bad idea?

Thanks so much!


Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
May 1, 2014 6:25 PM CST
When I went to trim the dead out of another shrub rose I have, 'Chuckles,' I found that I had to cut back to 4" from the ground to get to live wood. Never had that rose die back that far.

Since the rose I posted about, DayDream, still has not leafed out, maybe the winter killed it back too. I am not seeing and leaf buds or anything out on the canes. I hope it is still alive.

With no replies on my post, I guess I will just have to get in there and start cutting and go with my instinct.

I have had this rose for so many years. I hope I don't do the wrong thing.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
May 1, 2014 6:36 PM CST

Moderator

Juli, I'm sorry this thread somehow slipped between the cracks.

No, you don't have to limit yourself to removing only one-third. You certainly can do a severe pruning and reshaping of a shrub rose. Just be sure that it's late enough in the season so that you won't get more frost soon after you prune the rose bush. You don't want frost to damage your tender new growth.

In view of your experience with Chuckles, it's highly possible that DayDream is still alive and is simply later than usual in displaying signs of life.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
May 1, 2014 8:12 PM CST
Juli,
This past winter caused a lot of our roses to die back much farther than normal. My trash can was full of 4' brown canes this week! The roses will most likely be a bit shorter this year, but they'll still grow and bloom.
I know of people who cut their roses back to 8" every year just because they want to keep them a certain height.
I happen to subscribe to Bigger is Better, so I leave any green cane I find. .. Whistling
Hope that helps in somed way! Thumbs up
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H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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daylily
May 2, 2014 2:19 PM CST
Thanks!

I did notice today that there is a sprout with some leaves. It is only a couple inches from the ground. So, it lives...

Will try to tackle this bush this weekend.

Good to know I can cut it back.

Obviously, if the canes have died back, I can cut them, but I didn't realize that at first.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
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CindiKS
May 2, 2014 3:31 PM CST
One other thing---
You might check and see if that new growth is coming from below the big knot--below the bud union. If so, rip that off, even if it looks nice and healthy. Growth below the bud is from the rootstock and will most likely bloom a lovely red color. It's possible your grafted rose died entirely (sorry!) but the strong rootstock lives on and on.
Hopefully you have at least a few new buds from the grafted rose. I had written off a few of mine, then looked again today and yippee there is growth!
Hurray!
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
May 2, 2014 4:39 PM CST

Moderator

Is this a grafted rose? Shrub roses are rarely grafted. They don't need grafting as much as hybrid teas and floribundas do.
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Master Level
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daylily
May 2, 2014 5:23 PM CST
I don't ever remember seeing a graft knot on it when I planted it years ago.

There is a second one a few feet away that grew from a cane that rooted into the dirt, and grew a new bush. That happened at least 15 years ago.

Would that have happened... and lived... If it was grafted?

Shrug!

I do know about grafting in trees and shrubs, though... so I will watch for that. Thumbs up
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
May 2, 2014 5:53 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, a cane from a grafted rose can put down roots if it's touching the ground. It's highly probable, though, that your rose isn't grafted.

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