Before & After photos of Climbing Rose Bush

KendraSchmidtMarch 19, 2012

Hi GW folks,

I recently tried to prune a climbing rose bush myself. I don't know what kind of rose it is, I didn't plant it. I've only seen it bloom once before and they were standard-looking pink roses - like the roses you'd see at the market.

I tried to prune the climbing bush myself after reading some advice from users here. I'd like to ask for feedback, I'm unsure of whether or not I did it correctly. I also have some specific questions about the photos I'm attaching here:

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

Photo 3:

Photo 4:


Photo 1 - There are buds growing on the large canes that arrows #1 are pointing to in the photo. Does that mean that a rose will potentially bloom from that large cane? Or does it mean that another twig will grow from that bud on the large cane and begin to stretch/grow and have to be pruned at some point?

I don't really understand what grows from the buds.

Photo 1 - Should the green twigs that arrows #2, #3 & #5 are pointing to be pruned away? I'd like for the bush to be as compact as possible.

Photo 4 - Have I pruned away too much or not enough? There are still twig-like sticks growing from the large cane, but I was unsure of whether or not it was okay to remove those. Is it possible to force the roses to grow directly from the large cane, and not from those twigs?

Does it matter that I can't reach the top of the bush? With a ladder, I'm still not tall enough. How have other users tackled the height problem?

I appreciate everyone's feedback, thanks!

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Hi Kendra, copy the html in the first box under "Grab Your Code" on the tinypic website to post the photo here directly. It makes it a lot easier to get comments that way.

What grows from the buds:
1. leaves
2. small twigs that have a flower or two at the end, and a leaf or two.
3. larger branches that have a cluster of flowers and a few leaves
4. Huge stems that rival the size of the original stem.

Whether 1,2,3, or 4 are what you get from each bud depends on a lot of different factors, the cultivar, the location of the plant in your yard, the climate zone, the amount of water and nutrients the plant gets, the location on the cane where the bud resides.

The easiest thing to do is what you have already started: take photos after pruning, and see what happens. Did you get a great spring flush from your rose, or one that was worse that last year? Are the canes dying back from where you cut, or sprouting strong new growth? The small twiggy growth you left--is that producing some flowers, or nothing?

Observing what happens tells you how to prune next year. Write things down, and every year, the rose will get better and better based on your knowledge. It's not a cut-and-dried thing because there are so many variables. The basics are: removed dead, damaged, and diseased wood, keep it a managable size so you can handle it without injuring your self.

A trick I use is taking a long pole pruner to reach the highest growth. I grab it and pull it down and either trim it or arch it over so I can reach it later.

Climbing rose care is an art, not a science. Check YouTube, there are some good "how to prune a climbing rose" videos on there.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 2:34PM
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seil zone 6b MI

For a beginner I think you did a really fine job, Kendra! Like Hoov said, every rose has it's own particular growth habit and it takes time to learn what the roses likes and dislikes are. But you cleaned it up well and gave yourself a good place to start from. If you want to make it a little shorter so you can work on it better now would be a good time to take the height down some. But don't go too low until you know better how this one grows. And remember it's just beginning to grow this season and pruning encourages new growth so it's going to get taller!

Keep us posted on how it does and please post a photo when it blooms!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Not bad, but not necessarily ideal. As others have said wait and see what it does. Another great comment was watching the climbing rose youtube videos. Pretty much where I learned. An important factor with climbing roses is keeping 'Main Canes' as horizontal as possible to encourage flowering. I was amazed how well this worked. Basically my first year I let the rose do what it did and that included growing secondary canes that reached for the sky and had a rose on top. Another would pop out of a break, grow really tall and have a rose on top. Basically i would get individual roses here and there. The following year, after watching youtube videos all winter, I pruned all of the lateral canes off leaving only main canes, about 8 or so. I re-tied the bush to keep as many canes as possible horizontal or at best 45 degrees. That year, I had a lateral cane come out of every break that produced a flower resulting in true 'flushes' of roses, sometimes 30-40+ at a time.

I just got done pruning the roses last week, removing all lateral canes, triming out some main canes I no longer wanted, and creating main canes from the ends of original main canes with laterals, lol. Confusing right? It's not bad.

Good luck and check out youtube!

Here is one of the best in my opinion

Here is a link that might be useful: Youtube Climbing Rose pruning

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 11:02PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Really? Cut out all the laterals? I don't know if I can do that to the poor bush. That seems pretty drastic (obviously you're right - but roses grow so slowly here that I just want to let them grow.) :) I wish your link worked - I would love to see it.

.... I'm going to have to think on that and find some pruning links. Do you think I should do that for roses here (hardy ones) that don't seem to grow higher than 3 feet? Although this is their 3rd year - so maybe they'll grow taller this year.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Okay, thank you all! I'll just try waiting it out and see how the bush progresses. I'm hoping to keep it as compact as possible, hoping to keep the flowers as close to the main canes as possible. Thanks to everyone for their feedback.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:50AM
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How compact are you talking? Usually climbers and compact don't really go hand in hand but there are some that can be pruned like a bush. Is there a support, trellis, fence, etc? Doesn't look like it in the picture.

Good call on wait to see what happens. GL

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:09PM
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