Friday, April 27, 2012

How to correctly prune your rose bushes

Josephs Coat Rose
Josephs Coat Rose (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden but they do require some maintenance to keep them looking beautiful. Proper pruning and dead heading your roses is one part of the maintenance that must be done every season.

1. Prune your rose in early spring and once all danger of frost has past.

2. Make sure you have clean, sharp by-pass pruners and thick gloves. Some roses like the Joseph Coat are extremely thorny and can really cause a lot of damage to your hands and arms.

3. During the growing season, prune roses by looking for the first set of five leaves where you'll see a leaf bud. Prune just above this bud at a 45 degree angle that will assure the new growth will grow outward from the plant and not inward. This can be done as you dead head your roses.

4. Remove all dead and dying wood and any spindly canes that are less than the diameter of a pencil. Also look for sucker growth. These are canes that shoot out from the base of your plant under the main bud union. The main bud union is where all the main canes of the rose bush emerge from. Anything growing and shooting out from under this is a sucker and should be removed completely.

5. If you have a problem with cane borers, it is suggested that you can cover fresh pruning cuts with basic white school glue to prevent infestation.

6. Once roses go dormant for the year and have been exposed to several hard frosts, cut the rose down to one third of its original size and only leave three to four healthy canes for best results. Add a thick layer of fresh mulch.
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