When to prune in 6B/7 zone?

missbrittney08(6b/7)September 7, 2008

When is the best time to prune in a 6B/7 zone? How far should I prune back in the fall? When should I stop deadheading and feeding with quick-feed fertilizers (like Miracle-Grow)? I'm noticing a lot of my flowers (annuals mainly) are beginning to stop producing as many blooms and die back...was thinking maybe it's time to start preparing for fall with my roses!

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catsrose(VA 6)

Stop the Miracle-Gro now. What kinds of roses do you have (or, what are their names). Many roses don't need any fall pruning. You can stop dead-heading whenever you want, but roses in your zone will probably continue to give some blooms until it freezes.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 9:44PM
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sybl(z6 VA)

No more fertilizing. Just dead-head beautiful roses that you must have inside your house. The process of forming hips (from not deadheading) tells the plants to go dormant and they will be better able to survive winter.

I live in 6B (Lexington, VA) and I don't cut back until the week of Thanksgiving. You want a good freeze to put them into dormancy, otherwise, cutting stimulates new growth which wouldn't survive winter. I just hack them off then with a chain saw and do real/good pruning in March/April. After I hack them off, I spray them with lime sulphur. I do that about 3 times over winter.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 9:52PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

In east Tennessee, there's a tradition of cutting back roses in September, fertilizing them and then wondering why winter hurts them so much. Someone got it into their heads that this should be done. It's a disasterous thing to do. And it's probably one of the reasons that so few people are pleased with the way roses grow for them.

Often freezes won't happen here until a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving. Roses will slow down, and may stop making blooms as the skies get cloudier. But DON'T cut them back. We get too many warm spells in January and February and roses will grow then, esp to replace removed canes, and then those canes will die in late Feb and early March.
Our roses seldom become truly dormant. Gallicas, damasks and centifolias will drop their leaves; other classes of roses will hold onto their leaves until January or so.

I've tried stopping dead heading, and the roses ignored me and put out new buds because conditions favored more blooming. We can't force a rose or a cat to do something it doesn't want to. The sooner we let them have their way and help them, the better they'll be.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 10:30PM
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If you have modern roses, Don't prune until March and stop fertilizing. Fall prunning is a recipe for new growth when it will be hit by frost and as a result roses can get canker.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 6:36AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

I'll echo my learned rosey friends. No pruning in fall except to perhaps do a light trim if the roses are too tall and are located in a wind plain. Otherwise, I don't prune until late March, early April. As Ann said, too much variation in temps, warm one day, freezing another, and it is a lot of stress on the plants. We need to leave as many canes and as much cane length as possible, so that we can recover from whatever damage will occur over the winter.

You do need to make sure to keep watering, dehydration is more of a problem in the winter here than the cold.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 8:45AM
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poking my head in here to ask a question...I'm in 7A zone...and some of my roses have quite long canes. Can I trim them up a bit before the cold weather gets here?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 11:14AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

What's your definition of "long"? And are they stiff like hybrid teas or flexible?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 11:21AM
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One rose is the Blaze of Glory climbing rose, and it has gone crazy..One cane is at least 15 feet high. Didn't realize she'd take off like that. The canes are pretty flexible.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 3:24PM
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I believe I have all hybrid teas and one iceberg. 3/4 HTs are fairly tall and have stiff canes. 1 HT is small and the canes are still sort of soft/flexible.

"We get too many warm spells in January and February and roses will grow then, esp to replace removed canes, and then those canes will die in late Feb and early March."

So true! That's one of the big concerns of mine. We'll have hot summer in October, cold in November, mild in December, warmish again in January, cold in February, REALLY cold in March, warmish in April... Very flip-floppy.

So the consensus is: stop fertilizing now, continue dead-heading if desired, don't prune (with the exception of very long canes) until spring.

Should I go ahead and still cover the base with soil/mulch?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 10:01AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm in Zone 6 and I do not cover the base with soil/mulch. Of course, my neighbors on two sides have hugh oak trees near the property line--oak leaves blow over to my yard all winter long, so I guess you could say I let nature give my roses a bit of protection, but even that is very little on many of the roses.

That said, I do have 3-4 HTS that are a bit iffy in Zone 6. I may throw some extra mulch around them, or make sure the oak leaves surround (and stay around) them, but the others get to fight it out on their own. Occasionally I do that for a new rose that hasn't been very vigorous its first season in my garden, but that is it.

I've never lost a rose due to unprotected winters, and the only time my roses suffered was two years ago when a very late, very hard freeze damaged a number that had to be cut back to a few inches from the ground. But winter-protecting them would not have helped. They had been in active growth for 3-4 weeks when that big late freeze occurred.

As to autumn-pruning back an extra long cane, I always heard that you should not do that unless it is so long that the winter winds may whip it around and break it off.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 10:21AM
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cecily(7 VA)

Brittney, most HTs have a knobby rounded thing at the base of the plant where the canes meet the roots. That knobby thing is the graft. If your roses are planted with the graft below the surface of the soil, don't cover them with additional soil or mulch. If the graft is at or above the surface of the soil you'll need to cover it (but not until late December or until the weather turns cold).

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 12:01PM
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The graft is slightly above the ground. Perhaps just enough so that you can see it. I have one rose that I honestly don't know what it is. It looks like a hybrid tea. I got it from Wal-Mart and the tag just said "Assorted Rose."

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 12:49PM
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I write a gardening article for our paper. I'm just t
yping out the first for this year and it is always telling people when to prune roses. In doing some reading, the article said to pull off the green leaves after pruning. I've never heard that. What do you say?
The forsythia is in bloom, the saucer magnolias are in bloom, and I have done a moderate prune on my few roses, except my climber.
I think Knock Out roses are great,
but I'm a bit sick of them. My group of "old gals", started "Operation Bright Touch" 22 years ago and
have an easy job planting
them all over town,but in my own yard, I'd prefer
roses with lovlier blooms. I have no luck with tea roses and black spot. Would you suggest a type of rose more resistant? I haven't had floribundas. I'm 82 and 2
010 was supposed to be my last year of gardening but I have been to our local nursery, and bought "Royal Gold" and pink "America" climber. Can I expect any blooms from them the first year? I know I can expect some aching muscles.
It's hard to give up doing the things you love and others enjoy. Thank you, Donna

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 2:04PM
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