Friday, March 5, 2010

Easy Rose Pruning

When I first started pruning I approached roses as if they were fragile glass creatures. They are not. Look at the plant. It's stiff and it's thorny and it's hard to kill. Pruning them incorrectly will not be the end of them-usually.

Hybrid tea roses can be pruned hard and way down (unless you like a softer, taller look). The most important thing, I think, is to use sharp pruners (so that you make nice clean cuts) and get any diseased, old, damaged canes cut and removed. These canes can carry diseases. Clean up the area so that the base of the rose had plenty of air circulation. Keeping roses well-groomed keeps them healthier.

So, where to cut?
I still try and make the cut above any outward facing bud. I make the cut at an angle so that the high part of the cut is just about the bud. If you like short stubby plants you can prune the plant low so that you have a flush of new growth at about the same height. I like hybrid teas to look a little tall so that the flowers bow a little in the wind (I think they look more romantic this way) so I prune them higher sometimes. Again, it's what you like. I like to fuss and prune so I never do hatchet jobs on most of my plants. I like to give them haircuts throughout the season but I'm a fuss budget and a control freak. If you don't have the time to fuss it's entirely okay to do a hatchet job as long as you know the plant can take it. (More modern roses can. The old shrub roses might resent you-they're old fashioned you know).

More on other roses later...

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