cutting back roses

Discussion in 'Rosa (roses)' started by BbyGardener, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. BbyGardener

    BbyGardener Member

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    For years I have read that when cutting roses to cut just above a five leafed stem. Now I hear that it is 3.
    Another thing: when pruning; I have heard some neighbours say in the fall, after they have stopped blooming, and yet others say to prune in the spring, when the forsythia are blooming. I'm wondering what you all would say about pruning roses in the Lower Mainland. (I have tried both ways and haven't had any conclusive results)
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Tip back tall-growing ones that appear to need it in fall, to prevent them blowing around (or over) too much during winter. Those that are being hard-pruned annually, such as hybrid teas or floribundas in a mass display, receive this in late winter. Exact approach varies with kind of rose and intended effect. Some kinds are grown as shrubs, with mostly natural shapes rather than pruned heavily each year. Also, even within the modern bedding types (hybrid teas etc.) annual pruning out here on the coast may not be as severe as in the interior, where stems may freeze back frequently.
     
  3. BbyGardener

    BbyGardener Member

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    Mine are all hybrid teas. Thanks for the tip. So late winter here would be Feb-ish?
     
  4. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    "Every garderner is an expert"

    The truth is that there are many ways of pruning roses, and every gardener that vouches for his/her own method is probably right - for the conditions in his/her own garden. Variables include the type of roses you have, how you intend them to grow, your local climate, and how the timing might fit into your schedule. The best thing to do is to try the different methods and timing expounding by the various experts, and see what works best for yourself and your roses.

    I go by the gardening methods used by the gardeners tending to the most beautiful and healthiest roses in our neightbourhood - our local public rose garden, which happens to be maintained by volunteers from our local rose society.

    We don't grow a lot of hybrid teas in our garden, but here is what we do to those we have for fall pruning (generally around the end of October, any time in November, weather and time permitting):
    1. remove all dead, diseased, damaged canes
    2. remove old canes, and weak unproductive canes
    3. remove any canes that cross each other, in case wind causes damage by making the canes rub against each other.
    4. the remaining canes are reduced by 1/3 of their lengths. Tall canes may need to be pruned further back, or stacked to prevent wind and snow damage.
    5. they are then mulched for winter protection (we use spent mushroom compost)

    In spring, usually end of March, early April (as you say, when the forsythias bloom):
    1. rake the mulch and spread it (together with an application of organic fertiliser)
    2. remove or cut back any winter killed canes.
    3. otherwise healthy canes are cut back to 1/3 or 1/2 of original lengths, to a healthy outwards pointing bud, depending on the variety and what I know of and want from their growth characteristics.

    Shrub roses are pruned back by not more than 1/3, again depending on the variety, and tall canes secured. Climbers will have old, diseased, weak, damage and nonproductive canes removed, but I don't do much pruning to them otherwise. I focus on securing the canes for the winter.
     
  5. BbyGardener

    BbyGardener Member

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    Thanks, that's terrific advice.
     
  6. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    I would just like to add to this a bit by saying I heard an interesting addition to the phrase Dead,Diseased,Damaged or Dying, which was Distracting. This came to me from a woman with considerable knowledge and insight.
     
  7. alabama

    alabama Active Member

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    I think the main thing is to make a proper cut. A quarter inch above an outside facing bud. If the cut is too high or too low you end up with a length of dead stem which is unsightly. I have also heard that a fall pruning will help the plant enter dormancy. In other words cut back a little in the fall and finish shaping in the spring.
     

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