questioning pruning advice and other things

dregaeMarch 16, 2013

I just heard a new bit of pruning advice that is leaving me scratching my head, and before I go and run my big mouth and be wrong I thought I would see what others think.

The advice was to only leave last years new growth and cut everything out to feed the roots. My husband's uncle told this to my MOL who then promptly whacked her Abe Darby and HT Pascal. I'll be honest I had never heard this before and generally this uncle is VERY knowledgeable about gardening in general (other than the fact that he was calling his roses tea roses when they are actually hybrid teas) so everyone always takes his advice. Well I am not an expert, but.....(insert me here scratching my head in befuddlement) Is this advice worth listening to or laughing at(to myself of course)

The other head scratcher I heard was from a lady I know who was telling me how her roses' colors are always getting messed up due to cross pollination as well as getting pink spots all the time from this "cross pollination". Okay I know what the pink spots are from, and I know roses don't change colors because a bee decided to jump from a pink rose to a yellow rose, but I didn't say anything just shook my head and nodded mainly because I didn't know what to say without out sounding like a snark. What would you have said, keeping in mind that this lady is a very good friend.

grace e

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Pink spots on a rose is a fungal disease called Botrytis. Simply point out the facts with diplomacy, something like, "That's interesting! I have read several places that say..."

Here is a link that might be useful: botrytis on roses article.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 5:36PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I have never heard that pruning advice before. General advice could be to prune out 1/3 of the OLDEST canes in any given year to promote new basal growth. And even that's usually reserved for climbers and maybe really big OGRs. But then a lot of those really resent any hard pruning so it's not a rule for every rose. Heck if I did what your uncle suggests I'd be left with all one cane wonders!

As for the other lady you probably did the best thing. Anything you said to her might have ticked her off. If you really want to try and educate her send her an email with a link to a good hybridizing site that will explain pollination to her. It's better coming from the web than from you if you want to keep her friendship.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I got a giggle out of the "rose expert" that pruned my bosses roses....he cuts out all the new canes and leaves only the oldest ones. The woodier the better I guess...only those roses bloom hard for months and at 4 feet tall so guess his method is working too.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 6:04PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

It's hard to keep a lid on it when people give such goofy tips eh?
These stories also make me think of that video that was making everyone howl a while back!
"How to Prune a Rose the Easy Way" where the video guy takes a pole hedger to them and saws an entire bed down to 18 inches in about 30 seconds. hahahaha.

.. if you missed it- see below

Here is a link that might be useful: a crazy way to prune (shred) your roses

This post was edited by lola-lemon on Sun, Mar 17, 13 at 1:07

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:05AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I've heard of people who use hedge trimmers on Knock Outs with no problems but on anything else I'd cringe, lol! In my opinion we do way more pruning than we really need to. I've started pruning much less and found the roses seem to be happier.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Campanula UK Z8

feh - we all do that in england - whack 'em back with hedgetrimmers, that is. Our municiple council uses a flail mower with a huge side attachment to 'prune' out all the verge roses - mostly Bonica, Kent. Sommerwind and Fairy not that surprising.
I, myself, have used a chainsaw on various roses which have gone over the top - in our climate, it takes more than a vicious cutting back to actually kill them.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:31PM
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I have a number of minis that I grow in pots & I lop them back once each summer with hedges shears. I think that a lot of the new shrub roses could be pruned this way.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:57PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

the guy has such a devilish attitude while he does it though....

Actually, yes, i know several of my neighbors who plant hedges of hybrid teas at 15 inches apart and they clearly are using a hedge trimmer to cut them back-- it makes a perfectly flat top each fall. If you just want it topped, then it's perfect.

I think one would want to be sure to have sharp trimmers though.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:11PM
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I think the main thing that had me scratching my head was "cut out the old stuff to feed the roots". How would that feed the roots???

Grace e

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:07AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Me too. I often use hedge trimmers or a chain saw. For the more stubborn roses, I find tying dynamite to the branches works best.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:41AM
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