Zone 6, 7 & 8-- must I strip the leaves?
I am wondering if I need to keep up this horrible stripping process. I understand that folks in the hot climates need to force a kind of dormancy in to their roses and stripping leaves and pruning is part of the process-- but when we live in a cold enough climate that our roses are for sure going dormant due to cold--- do we need to strip the leaves?
I have several austins that are getting bigger and bigger and seem to make it through these mild winters with a lot of leaf and nearly all their cane to the tip. (lowest low was +14 this year).
So, about 60% of the leaves are still on the bush, but they look bad. Yellowey, spotted etc. Note: I've never had any BS to contend with in the summer--Never-- and I spray nothing. I may get a leaf or two in spring which I pop off, but that's it.
Anyway- the leaves on these Austins probably all have some frost damage- they are at best yellowy green.. (Whereas the HTs like Chrysler Imperial leaves are just dead and dry and gone!) So I was attempting to strip them all and got so frustrated I decided to just prune everything down to 18 to 24 inches instead.
Do you strip your roses?
If so, do you take all leaves- green as well as unhealthy looking?
Do you prune because you like them shorter or only for cane die back?
If you strip, do you have any advice? I feel like scissors was the fastest but I am about to try hair clippers.. anyone have any ideas?