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Pruning Your Roses

December 24, 2008

Part of taking the proper care of your roses is pruning your roses correctly. Pruning them the right way will keep your roses healthier and will keep you from doing accidental damage to the plants. It may take a little practice to prune them correctly, but after a few times it will likely seem simple.

To begin any rose pruning, you will need a good set of pruners and a sharpener to keep them in good condition. If you use a dull set, the cane of the plant may split and will cause the plant to take longer to heal. A split cane can also lead to disease in the plant.

Take your sharpened pruners and first remove any dead areas from the plants. If the dead wood is allowed to remain, it can become a host to fungi and various diseases. The dead areas will be easily noticeable as brown in color. The brown areas should be cut away until the plant is left with green areas that are white in the center. When doing this, cut the cane at an angle of about 45 degrees. Cutting it straight across will not allow the sap and the water form the plant to drain away properly from the cut area.

When pruning you roses to maintain a certain shape and size, keep the air circulation to the plant in mind. This means encouraging roses to grow away from the middle of the plant. Cutting only the outer areas will mean that all of the roses are concentrated toward the center. If the shape of the rose plant is more open and less concentrated toward the center, the plant will be able to sustain more blooms and there will be better air circulation for the entire plant. If you are thinning out the plant, keep the outside blooms over the inside ones to allow the plant to expand its shape.

When pruning a live area of the plant, cut just above any buds you want to keep. Cut with a 45 degree angle that begins just above your rose bud and have the lower side of the cut end even with it. This will allow your bud to blossom freely. Canes that are small and don’t look as if they are strong enough to support buds or blooms can be pruned away to allow the plant to concentrate its energy on the canes that can support them.

There are other things that should be pruned away from rose plants as well. Suckers are small growths that grow upward from below a bud. These do not add to the attractiveness of the plant and they can weaken it as well. These should be removed completely in order to strengthen the canes and keep the plant looking its best.

In some cases, you may wish to prune your roses simply to make it look better. To do this, some rose gardeners cut away the faded flowers to make the entire plant look better. This will also encourage the plant to grow more flowers. If the plant is new, all of the buds should be cut away to encourage the plant to develop more foliage. This will also help the plant to establish itself in its new home. It is recommended to prune away all buds for the two months after the roses have been planted. After that, take off the faded ones if desired as well as the ones that are affected by disease.

If you have shrub roses, you may wish them to maintain a specific shape and size. Some shrub roses grow quickly and will have to be pruned back a few times a year in order to control the size of the plants. If you are pruning to control the size of the plant, make the cuts on each cane above a bud in order to keep as many flowers on the plant as possible.

For climbing roses, the key to pruning is to keep only the strongest canes. Weak canes will not be able to climb well and will inhibit the growth of the stronger canes. To prune these roses properly, cut away the weak canes right at the base of the cane. Keep at least five strong canes in order to keep a full climbing rose plant.

Modern bush roses should be pruned each winter a few weeks before you expect the last frost to take place. Cut strongest canes down to no more than 24 inches in height. Also take this opportunity to cut out the weaker canes. The strongest ones will be the ones with the darkest green color. When pruning hybrid tea roses, cut away some of the early blossoms of the growing season in order to encourage the plant to grow more flowers. When cutting off these flowers, make the cut about a quarter of an inch above the first leaf on the can that has five leaflets. This is where the new growth will emerge. Don’t be afraid to prune the roses. You will get the hang of it in no time at all.

This post is a part of 17 posts about Rose Gardening. If you want to start at the beginning you can click on Caring for Roses

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