We have a rose bush that is out of control and really needs pruning. Can it be done now? Or is it better to wait until next spring?
Rose experts say that roses can be pruned anytime they are actively growing. Start by trimming out the older wood first, along with any dead or dying canes. You may also want to remove canes in the center of the bush to provide better air flow, any canes that cross and rub each other, or any twiggy growth that might be tempting to spider mites.
The Nashville Rose Society provides general pruning guidelines: each pruning cut should be made about ¼-inch above an outward-facing bud eye (where the leaf is attached to the stem). Use sharp bypass pruning shears, which will make a clean cut without crushing the stem.
An added tip: remove the spent blooms of roses regularly to encourage the plant to bloom more.
Serious rose growers may do a more severe type of pruning in the fall to winterize bush roses. Nashville Rose Society also provides general guidelines for this process: Stop fertilizing roses early in August to allow the plant to slow down producing new growth, then in early October, stop cutting off the dead flowers. In late November or early December, cut the canes back to 2 to 3 feet and place a mound of mulch around the bush.
Next spring, once the weather begins to warm up, move the mulch away from the roses and prune to about 12 inches to get new growth.
In Saturday’s Tennessean
The Ernest and Berdelle Campbell Land Trust Garden is a quarter-acre oasis in Nashville’s tightly-packed Germantown neighborhood. “This will always be green space,” Berdelle Campbell says. Read about the garden and Berdelle’s agreement with The Land Trust for Tennessee in Saturday’s Tennessean, and find more here about my visit with Berdelle, and more photos from the garden.
A Middle Tennessee reader emailed last week to say that she has a back yard full of daylilies that she can no longer take care of, and she is trying to find a home for them. “There is a huge assortment in lots of different colors and types, mostly full size but some miniatures,” she wrote. “My grandmother and mom collected them over the year and I don’t really know any of their names.”
If you are looking for daylilies, are willing to take a chance on sizes and colors, and can dig them up yourself, she is willing to donate. Interested? Email me at email@example.com and I will put you in touch.
Fortunately, the best time to dig and divide daylilies is coming up. I wrote about how to do that task here.
Filed under: Plant care, Seasonal, Shrubs | Tagged: pruning, Roses | Leave a comment »