Pruning Rose Bush In March?

naturalstuff(Z6 / CT)March 22, 2009

I didn't cut my rose bushes low enough last fall. I'm in CT Z6. Can I cut them now? We've had frost here almost every morning still.

They are not budding or re-sprouting yet. I left one 3 feet tall and the other 2 feet.

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Why not? I do it in Feb.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 1:30PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

We rose folk generally don't prune in fall, unless to top tall plants leaving wood well above pruning height.

If repeat-blooming roses are pruned too early in spring, new shoots that are encouraged to start low on the stubs or from underground will be killed by late freezes at about 27-28 degrees. It is better if any premature growth start higher on the canes. I would think most rose growers in CT prune around April 7, but get local advice. A rule of thumb is when the forsythia usually blooms.

Be sure to remove all the winter damaged wood, even if it is sprouting. Cane segments with tan or brown center pith are damaged-- except maybe old barky canes as opposed to green canes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 4:09PM
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naturalstuff(Z6 / CT)

Thanks michaelg. I noticed today there is new growth coming out on the canes. I hated to do it but I had to prune them lower. Not much becuase I didn't want to ruin the new growth.

The Forsynthias are starting to bloom here too.

I'll just leave them be and see what happens. I can always prune them lower in the fall I guess.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 6:56PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

On hybrid teas and similar roses, I prune off a lot of new growth every spring because the underlying canes have winter damage (shown by brown center pith). Injured canes will bud out, but the resulting growth is weak and supports little or no bloom. This year after several morning lows around 5 degrees, I had to prune several roses right down to the ground. They will grow back to 6' over the season. In a true zone 6 climate it's normal to lose almost all the exposed wood.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 2:48PM
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