Despite the colder than normal temperature, we’ve had a few days here in Rhode Island that have reminded us that Spring is right around the corner. Our forsythia is blooming and Mike has been very busy pruning our roses.
Many gardeners feel that pruning roses is difficult. “How do I prune roses?” is a question we asked often at our lectures. We recently presented a Pruning and Planting workshop at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum in New Bedford, MA and most of the questions regarded pruning.
To simplify the process, we’ve prepared a handout and if any of you would like a copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. A more detailed, step by step guide on pruning specific types of roses, such as climbing roses and shrub roses, can be found in our book Roses for New England: A Guide to Sustainable Rose Gardening – ordering information (free shipping) is on our web site: www.rosesolutions.net.
Meanwhile, here are a few points to remember:
1. Start your spring pruning by removing the 3 D’s – all dead, diseased and damaged canes. Prune ¼” above a bud eye. Look for the pith or cross-section of the cut to be creamy white.
2. Remove any suckers growing at the base of the rose below the bud union.
3. Remove small, twiggy stems.
4. Prune out criss-crossing canes in the center of the plant.
5. Finally, shape the bush leaving a nice symmetrical shape.
6. Voila, you’re done!
Spring pruning encourages new growth. It is the first step you can take to ensure a robust first bloom and after the winter we’ve had in New England this year, we’re looking forward to our June Bloom.