January 29, 2020

When to Prune Roses

When to Prune Roses

Just the though of pruning roses causes many people to cringe.  However, this is a vital task for the health of your rose bushes and will promote bigger more vibrant roses in the future.  For most people this skill will take time to master and each seasons improvement will occur through trial and error.  One good thing about pruning roses is they are very hardy.  It is difficult to kill a rose bush by over pruning or pruning roses incorrectly.  Although, many people will debate the correct ways to prune, it is widely concurred that if a mistake is made, the plant will grow over in due time.  It is also commonly viewed that it’s better to over prune rose bushes than under prune.  Other common questions usually relate as to when to prune roses.
The decision of when to prune roses is typically made by the type of plant and climate where the rose bushes resides.  The majority of pruning is performed in the late winter or early spring.  This is usually when the forsythia start to bloom or leaf buds will show signs of growth on the various limbes of your rose bush.  In more mild climates pruning will often be performed in December or January.  This will result in a fresh new set of blooms just in time for the spring garden parties and garden walks.
With the numerous varieties of roses when to prune roses can change slightly from type to type. Here is a short break down of differing roses.

When to Prune Roses That Bloom Year Round: even though roses will bloom throughout the year, the biggest and most beautiful blooms will usually occur in the spring time.  For good results prune 1/2 to 1/3 off the top of the rose bush in the early spring.  Anything that looks old or unhealthy remove completely.  It is good to leave at least 4 or 5 of the main healthy branches or trunks.  Vary these canes from 1 1/2 to 2 feet in length.  This will help promote continual blooming year round.

When to Prune Hybrid Roses: Perennial blooming hybrid roses should also be pruned in the late winter or early spring.  As these varieties only bloom on new wood, it s best to remove older or unhealthy wood.  When heavy pruning, start with the inner main branches as well as limbs that creep towards the center.  This will help spacing for future growth and avoid branch crossing.  Proportionally prune the stems by age.  Leaving the older stems a few inches longer than the younger.  Again about 1 1/2 to 2 feet is a good length to prune.

When to Prune Roses that bloom only once on old wood: Also know as ramblers, these roses may be pruned immediately after they bloom.  Unlike most rose plants they can be pruned back almost all the way to their base.  It is also good practice to prune unhealthy or damaged areas of the plant cause by rough winter conditions.

When to prune roses that Flower Repeatedly: Shrub roses may bloom consistently on wood that is 1-3 years old.  For this reason it is good to allow stems to mature for a couple years.  From this point on remove about a 1/3 of the older canes.  As per usual if you see areas of the plant that are dead or unhealthy looking remove immediately.

When to Prune Roses That Climb: Climbing roses will typically flower periodically throughout the year as well.  After the winter season remove any damaged areas.  It is also ok to prune after each bloom.

When to Prune Bourbons and Portlands: Bourbons and Portlands will flower consistently throughout the year as well.  Blooms will sprout on younger and more mature areas of the plant.  Before seasonal bloom remove dead areas.  After a flush of spring blooms it is ok to heavy prune.

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