Pruning roses, anyone have before & after photos?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAApril 12, 2013

I've just pruned my roses for the season and I'm almost done. I still have a couple of dead stubs that I want to go back and remove with a pruning saw. I did find myself wondering......

What a well pruned rose looks like?
I felt like I was cutting off a lot of dead wood and I wonder why do I have so much dead wood? Am I doing something wrong or is that expected?

I also don't see any new growth from the ground around the main trunk and where are new branches going to come from?

How many branches is the right amount to make a good base structure?

And there some point that you feel you should just replace a rose with a new one?


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seil zone 6b MI

I don't have any before and after pictures right now but I haven't started to prune yet so I could take some for you. However, pruning is a personal thing and people do it in different ways. I'm not one to just cut every thing back to 8 inches like some do. I try to leave all the live cane I can in the spring. But dead wood is dead wood and needs to be removed. So if that's what you're doing than you're doing it right.

New growth from the base are called basal canes and they don't always happen. Some roses will send up some frequently and others rarely do. If the rose is healthy and blooming you don't really need to worry about that.

A grade one rose has 3 to 5 healthy and preferably thicker canes coming out of the union. Then there are the one cane wonders. I usually keep them for a year or so to see if they'll send up some new basals. If it's just hanging on year after year and not giving you anything new then it's probably time to ditch it and get something that's healthier.

If something is very weak and small, not growing, not blooming or unhealthy after a couple of years, and you've done your best to help it, don't keep hoping it will improve. Toss it and move on to something that will give you less trouble and more enjoyment.

All that said I'm the worst person in the world about shovel pruning, lol. I have a terrible time removing anything that shows the least signs of life. But this year I've made a decision that enough is enough and some of those duds are outta here!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 4:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thank you, very helpful info. I will be keeping my eye on their performance this year to evaluate them. My best performer by far is 'Julia Child', so I'm sure she is going to be fine. The others I've had for awhile and some years they've been good and others not so much. If I have them completely cleaned up with the pruning this year, and fertilize this spring, then they should be able to please me, or on to something else.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 6:06PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Some "after" photos in link, more to illustrate growth habits than pruning choices, but it gives you an idea. I leave a lot of material because we get very little winter damage here. Before photos generally a blob of green, hard to see what's there.

Hope that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: pruning

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:18PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

You are in a harsh climate for roses, so dead wood is to be expected.

A good before/after/after illustration, go to the bottom of the page in the link, there's three clear photos: before, after pruning, then the spring flush

Here is a link that might be useful: mary rose before, after, spring flush (bottom of page)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:25PM
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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

There are some great utube videos to teach you the basics, but I agree with Seil, pruning is a bit of a personal thing, you will soon be making your own decisions.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:50PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Great photos, Hoov! It looks like you prune high like I do. I think the roses are happier that way.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:11PM
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hoovb, thank you for the links. The pruning pictures are great and I love to see things like this.

More importantly, thank you for the website. It's wonderful, I just lost myself in your photos for the longest time. Such beauty!

Thank you for sharing it. :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:23PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

This should make you feel better... lol

This is a own-root rose bush which always died to the ground......

This post was edited by jim1961 on Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 13:15

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:39PM
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Hoovb I've been lost in your website for an hour! Awesome pics, what a great blog! Do you every participate in garden tours???? You must have a ton of property!!! Its beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:41PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gee, I got busy yesterday and just got back to this post. Thanks very much for all the responses, I'll have a lot to look at this weekend!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 5:27AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That's amazing Jim, before the new growth, you would think the rose was dead! Quite a nice blooming rose with healthy growth from the base. Thanks for the photo.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:31PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hoov, I enjoyed the photos in your link. Very interesting to see what a rose grows like in a different climate. Especially the photo that showed inital growth and next year's growth and established growth. Fascinating.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:41PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Glad to be of help.

I think to get good photos of pruning the plant needs to have a light wall or fence or some plain backdrop, otherwise it's hard to see the details.

jim1961, amazing rose!!! What is that?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 9:21PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.


That was an own-root Hydrid Tea Precious Platinum...
Sadly it started really declining in it's 4th year
with severe BS...Big time!
So in that sense not so amazing...
But no matter what you did to it that rose would come

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 9:38PM
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