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rose bushes

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by joclyn on March 14, 2006 11:35 AM
i planned on trimming back my rose bushes this past weekend - when i went out i found that new growth has already started (been a funky winter with lots of above normal temps).

there are leaves (some are already almost 1/2 inch) right at the top of the highest branches. would it be okay to trim back anyway? maybe just not as far down as i would normally go?

one has a couple of branches that are about 5 feet and the other has some that are a bit over 4 feet. both have other branches that aren't quite as tall.

i don't want to damage them. i also don't want them totally out of hand in a few months either - and the one that is 5 feet is a prolific grower to begin with.

by obywan59 on March 15, 2006 01:17 PM
I would go ahead and prune them. I cut mine back last fall. They've been getting frozen back, so I cut them to about 18 inches so I could fit 5 gallon buckets over them to protect them. They survived just fine this year.

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May the force be with you
by joclyn on March 19, 2006 05:01 AM
well, it's been getting pretty cold the past couple of frost, but that's still possible.

i really did want to trim them back some...even if it's just a foot or so.
by flwrgrdnmom on March 19, 2006 11:23 PM
I'd say you should be safe trimming them. If you have another cold snap, then just pile straw or something over them. Good luck!
by joclyn on March 26, 2006 01:10 PM
i did go out and trim them back some. only took off about a foot of the highest branches and less than six inches from the branches that weren't that tall. and, of course, it got really cold again!! just to barely freezing, so we haven't had any frost, thank goodness!

in the fall, i pack leaves around the bases of all my bushes. i won't remove that until it's definitely no chance of a late the longer it's there to decompose, the better for the plants!
by Patty S on March 26, 2006 04:06 PM
Joclyn, large Rose bushes (which it sounds like you're dealing with) are pretty tough, & you can prune the dickens out of them & they'll love you for it! The most important thing to remember while pruning Roses is that you want to leave the center pretty well opened up, so they'll get good air circulation & light. Overcrowding branches, which happens most often in the middle of Rose bushes, invites powdery mildew & other diseases.

When trying to decide which branches to trim, notice which way the new buds are facing. You'll want to keep only a limited amount of the branches (or portions of branches) with new buds that will end up in the center of the bush, once they leaf out & have gotten longer.

Different types of Roses grow at different rates. Knowing the type of Rose you're dealing with helps to determine how far back you can cut them & still have a full, nicely shaped bush when it blooms. Your pruning & shaping should be appropriate to the type. (For example, Climbing Roses need very little pruning... mainly just "cleaning it up" & snipping off the dead stuff that didn't make it through the winter, while the Floribunda types like to be cut back & have fewer branches than you might think... & will also produce more roses!)

When I prune my Floribundas, I begin by cutting them quite a bit shorter than I want the bush to be when it blooms, because I know that it'll take off & be taller than I intended, if I don't!

I never let branches lean on each other, & I cut one off if it looks like it will cross over another one later on, when it gets longer (in the best interest of light & air circulation). I also cut all branches back that have buds facing the house bushes are relatively close to the house, & I don't want them to touch the building later on. (That just gives access for bugs & spiders to get inside, through the vents under the eves!)

When cutting any part off a Rose bush, be sure to cut at an angle. This allows moisture to run off, rather than being trapped on a flat cut. Although I've never done it before, a Master Gardener told me recently to put a dab of Wood Glue (it's more water resistant than white glue) on the ends of the larger branches that I cut. He said that it seals the "wound", making the plant less susceptible to disease & insects that may otherwise be attracted to the fresh cut.

The only other thing I can think of right now, is that after I first "shorten" the bush, the second thing I do is to focus on the base & whack off any old, woody branches. This encourages the plant to use its energy for the newer healthier growth coming on this year, & will make for more blossoms.

I hope this helps you decide what you want to do. I say be ruthless with your pruning & don't worry about damaging them... If they're as prolific as you say, they'll grow back with a vengeance & you'll be very happy! As Terry & flwrgrdnmom mentioned, protecting them during this weird winter weather the whole country has been having this year, isn't a bad idea at all!

Happy gardening, & I hope you have beautiful Roses this year! (Maybe you can post some pictures of them here, later on!) [thumb]

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by joclyn on March 27, 2006 11:17 AM
thanks, patty! you're comments just reinforced just about everything i've already been doing (have no idea where i picked up what to do...)

anyhoo, i did look at the direction and placement of new buds and used that as my guide -i should have a much more nicely shaped bush this year. i didn't trim back some of the center branches too much - you're observastion about them crossing over each other, tho, says i should go back and trim a couple more back. i've been having a problem with black spot for the past couple of years and less touching of the leaves/branches will be a help with that.

i also didn't trim back too much of some of the 'woody' branches. i guess i should go back and do that, too.

that bush is the only one that's an original (that i planted) and it's the one that grows so tall.

of the transplants, only one seems to be the same general type of rose. and, it's OLD! at least 50 years and i got the most of the root. it's got four large diameter branches that are dead. totally dead - they're grey. should i cut them back as well? i originally left them because they are so thick that i'm going to have to use a saw to get them off. i'll assume i should still use something to cover the cut edge even though it's a dead branch?

the other transplants are so small (from being under the overgrown weeds) that i'm not sure exactly what type they are. a couple are most probably climbers - i've been told there used to be an arch in that garden and two were in the spot right next to where the arch would have been - one had smaller flowers and the other had medium size flowers. the others - well a couple had small flowers and a couple had more normal size flowers, so i'd say that i've got a few floribunda in the mix.

i didn't trim any of those back at all. none of them are over 1 1/2 feet tall and i thought it best to give them a good year to get reestablished (none had really good roots either). except for 2, all survived the transplanting and all have new growth. i plan on feeding well over the summer and then trimming them all back in the fall.
by MissJamie on March 27, 2006 12:05 PM
if you do trim and prune your rose bushes right now would you still get blooms later this year??

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*~*Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.
by kyjoy on April 01, 2006 03:36 AM
When you trim roses, always cut back to a five-leaf stem.
by joclyn on April 01, 2006 03:35 PM
hmm. the new growth was really too small (mostly) to see how many leaves were going to be on the stems.

hmmm. probably screwed up the first flowering. [Frown]

ahh, well.

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