Wednesday, March 03, 2010
I've been asked again about pruning roses. I am never sure why there is so much doubt about this subject - something to do with the fear of over cutting perhaps. When about to prune roses, you should first determine whether they bloom on canes arising each year from the ground or near the ground, or whether they make perennial
tops. You should also form a clear idea of whether an abundance of flowers is wanted
for garden effects, or whether large specimen blooms are desired.
If you are pruning the common garden roses, you need to cut back all very vigorous canes to perhaps one-half their length immediately after the June bloom is past. This will have the effect of producing new, strong shoots for Autumn flowering, and also to make good bottoms for the next year's bloom.
Very severe summer pruning, however, is likely to produce too much leafy growth. In the Autumn, all canes may be shortened to 3 feet, four or five of the best canes being left to each plant.
In Spring, you can cut canes right back to fresh wood, leaving perhaps four or five good buds on each cane because it is from these buds that the flowering canes of the year are to come. If you prefer fewer blooms, but of the best size and quality, then leave fewer canes and only two or three new shoots should be allowed to spring from each cane the following Spring.
The rule in trimming all cane-bearing roses is this - cut back weak growing
kinds severely - cut back strong growers moderately.
Climbing and pillar roses need only the weak branches and the tips
shortened in. Other hardy kinds will usually need cutting back about
one-fourth or one-third, according to the vigour of the branches, either
in the Spring or in Autumn.
All everblooming or hybrid tea roses will need to have all dead wood
removed at the time of uncovering them in Spring. Some pruning during
the Summer is also useful in encouraging growth and flowers. The
stronger branches that have flowered may be cut back one-half or more.
Sweet briers, Austrian and rugosas may be kept in bush form; but the
trunks may be cut out at the ground every two or three years, new shoots
having been allowed to come up in the meantime. All rampant growths
should be cut back or taken out.