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leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

Posted by bibbus 7b (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 13:16

So I haven't pruned my roses yet and new growth is starting. I have a number of really long vertical stems with tips that seem to have been killed by the cold. But lower on the stems are lots of new growth just starting to come out. Should I trim the vertical stems back leaving a foot of stem for the health of the plant or just let it bloom first and then prune?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

What are you wanting to do with it? I can't see the ends but based on my phone picture, I would wait a bit. I love the info & ideas given in this video.

Here is a link that might be useful: Managing climbers - Paul Zimmerman


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

You MUST go to Paul Zimmerman rose pruning U tube videos. Go to the one about pruning the climbing rose. Also it would be helpful to know what type of rose this is.


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

This is a pink one. Ha! Sorry, somewhere I have all the names of the plants in my yard but I couldn't find it easily. It was an inexpensive one I purchased at Walmart several years ago (the ones that come in the plastic bags with wood shavings around the roots) and as you can see it really grows well. Part of the reason is that it is next to my compost pile. Anyway that doesn't help you much to answer my question.

Its hard to take a picture against a white exterior but the tall vertical stems look like most of them have leaves budding out right now on the bottom of the stems but many of them look dead on the tips. Its not that easy to prune this guy because it grows so high.


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 23:51

If the tips are back or very dark brown they're probably dead from winter and should be removed down to at least where the canes are green and new growth is starting.

Snip off a couple of inches on the tips and look at the inside of the cane. If it's brown or dark tan and looks dry it's dead wood. If it's a greenish white or cream and looks moist it's alive. Take off any wood that is dead. If you don't I've found that the cane will just continue to die back and you can lose the whole cane.

After you have removed all the dead wood you can do further pruning so shape it however you choose. But it is a climber and "leggy" is the way they normally grow. If you want more bloom on it try to gently bend the canes more horizontally. This will encourage it to send up new lateral growth and that new growth will all have blooms.


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

THANK YOU! That is what I thought I should do. A hard freeze tonight (22) may do more damage. What a winter!! Will it EVER end? I have trained many of the canes in a curve formation. Its hard to see in the picture. Usually I get a lot of blooms but I've just never dealt with half dead stems or this much cold before. Thanks again.


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

The long canes that come from the base of the plant and are curving over are the main canes. All the canes coming off those main canes are laterals. (In your picture all those stems going vertical are laterals.)

I prune my climbers very early every spring (when the forsithia begins blooming) so that all those laterals are 6 to 8 inches long, then I make sure the main canes are all attached to the trellis so that they run at an angle some where between horizontal and 45 degrees. It makes for a great show in a few months.

I'm in your same zone and am expecting low 20s tonight too. It's time about time to prune here, but seeing that this cold snap was coming on the long range forecast I've waited. I'll get after it when it warms up again later in the week.

This post was edited by subk3 on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 21:45


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

Its been raining but tomorrow is supposed to be clear. Good day to prune the laterals! Seems odd to call them laterals when they are almost vertical! Thank you.


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

Watch Paul zimmermans video


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RE: leggy vertical stems on climbing roses

I did watch it but didn't think it at all fit my situation. That was a rose with very long laterals and not much of a bush. Mine is already well formed. I just was afraid it was too late to prune it. But I went ahead and shaped it up today and will post pictues when it blooms. Lots of leaves have come out even though we had 22 degrees on Wednesday. Its supposed to be almost 80 here this week. Go figure.


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