Whether you have one rose or a full blown rose garden learning how to care for roses is vital. Roses need to be pruned once a year and deadheaded throughout their growing season so that they produce even more fragrant blooms. Pruning can sometimes be a daunting task, but here are a few tips on how to prune roses like a pro.
Always start with clean sterile pruners and dip them in rubbing alcohol before going out into the garden. The first step is to cut off any dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Start with the smaller stems that have turned completely brown, cut them out cleanly at the base. When you have made your cut, look for white inside the stem. If it’s brown, cut further down. Remember that healthy wood is greenish white not brown. Next remove any stems that cross or rub together. All pruning cuts should be made just above a new outward facing bud so that a new cane or stem will grow outward from the plant and not cross inward.
There are a few different methods of pruning that rose experts subscribe to. The first method is called hard pruning and this is when rose canes are severely cut back to 5 inches from the root. This method is primarily used to rejuvenate weak or neglected roses. You want to hard prune to build up a strong root system and stimulate the plant to produce new, strong canes from the bud union.
Then there is moderate pruning, where you cut the rose canes back to half of their height. Moderate pruning is used for established Hybrid Teas and Floribundas roses. This is what is done yearly in roses gardens and should be done in early spring when you see new buds and growth develop. It is best to wait until all danger of frost has passed before you prune your roses.
The last method is called the easy-care method where you simply cut the rose bush in half straight across with a hedge trimmer. This is not my favorite method and I don’t recommend it as it leaves your rose bush with too many cuts that could get infected.
Once you have pruned your roses for the upcoming flowering season you still have to maintain a light pruning schedule throughout the summer. When a rose bloom has finished its show, you will want to prune it off. Make all of your pruning cuts at 45 degree angles and right above a node. It is best to go down a couple sets of leaves to signal to the plant to send up more new growth. Roses bloom on new growth but need those old canes to support the new ones.
It is also stressful the first time you prune your roses. Don’t worry, you will be a pro in no time.
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