What's the best way to prune roses?

sara_ann-z6bokJanuary 18, 2014

I've pruned lots of rose bushes over the years, but have never been confident about the way I've done it. I've gotten instructions from guidebooks and try to prune them according to those instructions. Of course I know to get rid of the dead wood. On hybrid teas what is the typical number of canes you leave on them? What is the best way to prune a floribunda? I am not as experienced with those.

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catsrose(VA 6)

Different kinds of roses require different pruning. There are lots of posting here on GW and a number of videos, including those by Paul Zimmerman.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:38PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Sara, I just posted some pruning info on the thread linked below. I hope it's helpful. It's pretty basic and for modern roses. Some types of OGRs need less pruning so I wouldn't recommend it for those.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning thread

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:09AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

He Sara Ann, I also live in Oklahoma, but I grow all older roses, so I cannot help a lot on modern ones. I agree with the other two posts.

I have about 130 roses now, and will begin pruning today if possible. I will expect some die back, but much of the mess of discarding long branches will be out of the way.

For years I grew modern roses, and I am not sure that I ever injured a rose by pruning it. I think I did a lot more damage by allowing it to grow, and not taking a good look at the ground for disease and injury.

Now I try to cut the rose down more than ever, and I try to be sure that it is disease free. I try to make some cuts near the ground so that new growth will appear.

Cutting back at this time of year means that every stem left will probably need to be re-cut, or at least there will be some die back. Since the roses are so large, I like to get this over with now when I can, so that I can see what damage there may be, and decide what to order.

You will receive many good posts on this issue, and I am not sure how many fact there are anymore.

We have received a post from a very popular nursery in California who published a list of facts and fictions about rose growing. I think they are closing, but have not closed yet. The sheet indicated that much information was for rose competition, and that those of us who want a pretty yard do not need to follow those rules. Possibly someone else will give the name of that nursery or give a link to the sheet.

Do you live around Tulsa?


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:20AM
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Thank you everyone for the helpful information, I really do appreciate it.

Sammy - I live about 60 miles northwest of Tulsa. What are some of the older roses you grow?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Well there is a lot of information out there (and quite a lot of it is obtuse, even contradictory). I mostly ask whether the rose blooms on old wood (many ramblers and once flowering roses) or whether it will bloom on wood produced in the current season (repeating roses). Those which flower on old wood are pruned after the flowering flush is over....and are generally pruned to the base of the oldest canes as they will send out new
basals which will flower the following year. Repeating roses flower on lateral canes which have been pruned back to
the main, framework canes in the spring.
The rest of it is usually a question of timing, with a goal of keeping the plant healthy (removing dead or diseased wood, allowing for good ventilation, removing damaged wood from crossing or crowded branches). Keeping the plant within bounds is also why we prune (although the rose has its own genetic predisposition and will fight against altering its essential character)....and also to create larger blooms (although fewer). Finally, we use pruning as a way of responding to the environment - we might cut a huge or exposed rose back in winter to avoid wind-rock, or restrict pruning if a plant is under water stress....or rejuvenate a rose which has gone old and gnarly.
It is an interesting subject and is not to be feared - plants are very tolerant and, if in doubt, we can always leave well alone.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 4:22PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I am not sure how to share a link, but this is what I found from 2008. The author is Greg Lowrey. He shares facts and myths, and I found it very informative.

I purchase my roses from Antique Rose Emporium, and grow Souvenir de la Malmaisson, Maggie, Cramoisi Superieur, Perle 'Or, Caldwell Pink, Ducher, and about 100 more.

Years ago they changed our zone to 7A, and we can easily grow china and tea roses. You might want to try them where you live. I do not spray roses or anything else.

Do you ever go to Help Me Find? or to Antique Rose Emporium's website. Chamblees is also close to us.

I am going to exit and see if my link is working.


Here is a link that might be useful: Vintage Rose Garden Newsletter 2008

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 8:43PM
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Campanula - Thanks for your helpful advice.

Sammy - I really do want to grow some of the antiques, they are really beautiful and evoke a feeling nostalgia. Right now I have Rose de Rescht, Reine des Violettes, Mme Isaac Pereire, and Zephirine Drouhin. I planted them all last spring and with the exception of Rose de Rescht, they bloomed very little. Those all came from Roses Unlimited. They all look really healthy and I am sure they will be fine, I just get a little anxious, I guess. I ordered a few more antiques, including SDLM, which you mentioned, this time from Pickering. I have seriously considered the teas and chinas, especially the teas, but have been a little afraid. Maybe I'll try one or two in 2015, they are really lovely. I saw the article you mentioned. I will try to find time to read it tomorrow, looks interesting. I have visited the Antique Rose Emporium a number of times, I love it!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:24PM
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Sammy - I should have said I have visited the Antique Rose Emporium "website" a number of times

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:41PM
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