Friday, May 4, 2012

Frank's Flowers - Pruning/Trimming Roses

Frank's Flowers - Pruning/Trimming Roses

My father is somewhat of a rose expert - self-taught that is.  At one point he had over 100 rose bushes around his house that he started himself - just from a cut rose (I will share that technique with you in a different post).  Today we will be talking about pruning or trimming rose bushes.

First of all, you must know if your rose bushes are "climbers" or "tea" roses (pruning is different for climbers).  Telling the difference between the 2 types is fairly obvious because climbers are 4 feet tall or higher.

Also very important - please wear tough leather gloves to avoid getting pricked by the thorns. 

There is a once a year extreme trimming and then there is the maintenance cutting and pruning throughout the summer.  Below you will see a perfectly trimmed tea rose bush.  

We will start with the once a year extreme tea rose pruning:  this should be done in the fall but sometimes winter comes quicker than expected and in that case this "once-a-year" pruning can be done in early spring.

The 4 pictures below show the progression of the trimming.  I tied white ribbons just below where the cut will be.  In the picture below there is a tiny new shoot starting to appear just below where I tied the ribbon - You want to cut just above where that new shoot is (now this new growth will only be there if you are trimming in the spring - for fall trimming you would just trim leaving a few inches as seen in the picture above.  The rose bush in the picture above was trimmed in the fall but I took this picture in the spring - that is why there is new growth).   

Now for both the tea roses and the climbers you will need to do "dead branch trimming".  Sometimes you won't even need to cut these branches - they will just break apart from the base of the rose bush as seen In the picture below.  If it does not break away easily then you will need to cut the dead/dried branch as close to the ground as possible.  

Removing dead or dried branches
The once a year extreme pruning for climbers is much easier than for the tea roses - Simply cut all dead rose heads off (as seen below).  (and then of course complete the dead branch trimming also). 

Finally, "Summer trimming".  You will need to cut each branch after a rose has finished blooming.  Starting from the flower head, follow the stem down to a side-shoot of leaves and cut just above that cluster of leaves.  IMPORTANT - there must be at least 5 leaves in this cluster - if there are not 5 leaves then skip this cluster and keep going down the stem until you find a more established side-shoot.  (I will add pictures of this step later in the year).


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  1. Roses are my favorite flowers, but I've never grown any of my own. I'll keep an eye out for your post about planting them!

  2. I struggle with roses but I hope this year I can give them the proper care and enjoy more blooms. Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday!


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