Roses forum: Pruning Roses in So Cal

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Name: Pinky Kelly R
Long Beach, CA (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Orchids
Apr 11, 2012 4:45 AM CST
So, I have never grown roses. I have some beautiful bushes at our new place. What time of the year should I prune them? What's the best book to buy to read upon their care? Thank you!
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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
Apr 11, 2012 8:01 AM CST
I'll let the California people answer your questions, but I can give you one bit of advice--get a pair of Felco pruners. #2 or #8. They will make your pruning work go so much faster.
Your rose photos are beautiful! Thumbs up
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
Apr 11, 2012 8:37 AM CST
Cindi - Do you really think that the Felco pruners are that good (especially for that price?)? I use the Corona pruners and they're awesome pruners.. and finger slicers too as I can attest to.

Pinky - As far as books, I really do like the Ortho book "Complete Guide to Roses" ( and the American Rose Society "Encyclopedia of Roses" ( Of course there are specific books for specific roses (climbers, David Austins, OGR, etc). It's all depending on what you're targeting. Do you know who those three you posted are? I'm not sure on the apricot (don't do apricot roses), but it could be Easy Does it, the middle looks to me like Montezuma or Tropicana, and the bottom pink looks like Electron or Miss All American Beauty.
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)!
Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Daylilies Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Colorado Ponds Roses Sempervivums
Apr 11, 2012 8:51 AM CST
Felcos are that good. I've had my two pair for decades. I've used Coronas too and liked them, but they didn't last like the Felcos did. And my pruners get a lot of use and abuse.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Apr 11, 2012 9:46 AM CST
I would suggest that nature will provide most of the care your roses are likely to need. That said, here are some easy tips.
1) Be sure they get adequate water; about 1" per week is what's usually recommended. For water conservation, most people will recommend drip irrigation. I like to inspect my roses and so I water with a hose.
2) Feed them once or twice per year with an organic fertilizer such as Mills Magic.
3) Remove dead wood at least once per year. I happen to like Felco pruning shears for this, too.
4) You may choose to prune up to 2/3 of the cane mass away when the roses are growing least. In wintry areas this is before the roses set new spring foliage; where you are, that might be before it starts raining in the fall. Pruning encourages growth and blooming, but it saps a great deal of energy, so you need to fertilize more generously. I typically prune every three years or so.
5) Keep your roses mulched with 1-2 inches of organic mulch.

A more detailed account of caring for roses can be found at RoseFile or at AARS . Just as with people, the generalities are all the same for all but the specifics on rose care need to be tailored to the individuals. Some roses are easy-care and some are high maintenance. I have yet to see a book that does a great job getting past the generalities.

My bet is that for some time there will be helpful people here eager to answer your questions about rose care.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
[Last edited by Steve812 - Apr 11, 2012 9:57 AM (+)]
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