It’s spring and that means it’s time to prune your roses. Some people say the best time to prune is when the forsythia blooms, but you can really prune anytime in March or April. Pruning properly takes some practice. So, you may ask, why do we do it?
First, when we make a cut on a rose cane, we are waking up the rose and telling it it’s time to grow. We also prune because we can shape the bush the way we want it, in terms of both height and width. If we did not prune for several years, our roses would be gangly, cluttered and not have very many blooms. Pruning is not easy; it takes experience to be good at it. Some say pruning is an art, some say it is a scientific process. Whatever it is, it is a job that should not be put off.
Here are a few tips to make the job of pruning easier. First, cut out dead wood. Next separate canes that are rubbing against one another. This prevents disease. Next prune all large canes, leaving only three or four and taking the rest out.
Now is the time to decide what size you want your rose bush to be. If your goal is to enter rose shows, cut the canes down to 12 inches. This will make the bush produce fewer roses, but extra-large ones. For garden roses, you can prune the bush higher, 2 to 3 feet from the ground, and this will produce many smaller roses.
Last but not least, make the cut above an outward facing bud, so that the rose will open up and grow with a good shape.
When learning to prune, many are afraid to make a mistake. Just remember it doesn’t have
to be perfect. Rest assured, you will make mistakes at first. However, it doesn’t matter as roses are very tough. They have lasted a long time, thousands of years to be exact. Each rose will thank you for the job you did. They can breathe more easily and feel free to reach for the sun.
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