When to prune in Arkansas?

margaretk(Dallas 7/8)February 4, 2009

Hi! I'm trying to gather some information for a new rose gardener who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since pruning time in my area is mid Feb., I'm guessing it would be just a couple of weeks later, or early March. But I would dearly love to have this confirmed before I pass on bad info to my friend.

Thanks for your help-

Margaret

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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Let's see, in most years I prune early to mid April. Spring weather travels 100 miles north each week. Little Rock is about 500 miles south of me. That would put Little Rock's pruning time around early to mid March.
But then it depends on the weather and stage of bud swell of the roses in that area so if the roses are still really dormant and the temps are really cold, I'd wait until the roses tell me it's time to prune. After a while with the sun higher in the sky and the days longer bud swell will happen anyway so that will be a factor also.
Unfortunately there is no magic set date to prune in any one area of the country. One has to know their roses and watch when the experienced rose growers in their area prune.
I've pruned as early as mid March and as late as the end of April. Most of my neighbors watch for me to start, then prune.
Even with all the cold and snow in my zone, my forthysia buds are swelling. I see them when I go down my driveway.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 12:26AM
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margaretk(Dallas 7/8)

Thanks for your response, Karl. My friend is a newbie and this will be her first time to prune as she bought a home with several established roses. I appreciate your taking the time to reply.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 11:43AM
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roseman(Z 8A GA)

Around here we say "When the Forsythia bloom, it's time to prune."

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 11:50AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Hey Roseman,
There are better indicators than the forthysia. I've noticed my spring flowering bulbs have been blooming around the time I prune.
My forthysia bloomed last year a month earlier than normal so I waited until mid -April and was glad I did.
With temps in the 40s forecast for this weekend and into the following week and the swollen buds on my forthysia I wouldn't be at at all surprised if they started blooming now in mid-February.
Years ago they most always bloomed in early April but now bloom at a not so predictable time. For this reason I no longer use the forthysia bloom as my yardstick for pruning. I know my roses and what to look for, so prune when they tell me it's time.
It's like pruning. Years ago I carefully studied each cane to determine the best place to cut. Now when I prune I just know where to cut without thinking about it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 3:04PM
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