Roses Made Easy
The most difficult but the most fruitful part of rose
care is pruning roses
Don't worry, as always I will explain this important part
of rose care in an easy and understandable way.
Pruning roses is a topic widely discussed, but few have
the heart to approach the subject. Many sources discourage from pruning and
recommend a natural growing for roses.
The plants will grow, but with fewer flowers, imperfect
leaves and in addition we will get poorly shaped plants standing with naked
feet in our gardens. Unfortunately, the plants will be vulnerable to diseases
and pests too.
I could continue with some more arguments, but to put it
in a nutshell:
- Only the annual performed pruning will bring floweriness, health and
longevity to your rose plants.
and drafty wood must be removed from the rose bush
General Pruning Guidelines
Always use clean and sharp rose
pruners, shears and other tools on your roses
Regardless from diverse
rose types you should perform the following general pruning procedures:
- Prune canes with frost damages and injuries to the
healthy wood and those with sickness or where overwintering forms of pests are
located (e.g. black eggs of the aphid)
- Thin shoots that can’t hold the florescence in summer
should be pruned back heavily.
- Thin or unnecessary side shoots are cut off to their base.
(Branches smaller than pencil in diameter)
- Prune out crossing branches. The weaker is cut out in favor of the stronger. They will scar their neighbors and cause
injuries where pathogens can enter the wood.
Rule of thumb
pruning = strong new growth; Weak pruning = weak new growth
Identify the Age Of The Rose Shoots
It is always beneficial to keep shoots
with different age on the plants. Before pruning the roses, let’s identify the
age of the shoots:
- Color of the bark epidermis: A young shoot will have light-green
to light-red color; a one-year old shoot will be dark green to
light brown and the bark of perennial shoots will be gray to dark-brown,
usually slightly cracked.
development of bud eyes:
Until three years old shoots, it is easy to identify the bud eyes. But for 3-7
years old shoots the visibility of the bud eyes disappears and they degenerate.
For the pruning you may search for a “Sleeping Bud Eye,” usually a tiny dark
spot. The leaf scar position will be more visible in a horizontal slash.
of the shoot’s core:
With young, one-year old shoots the core will be white, soft and spongy,
covered by a thin bark. As the shoots age, the core will be smaller and his
color will be brownish. With perennial shoots you usually can find a thin,
For the pruning of roses it is
essential to know the age of your shoots, to balance the pruning in the
To make it tricky: different sorts of
roses need a different mix of younger and older shoots.
Pruning Different Types Of
pruning guidelines above apply to all roses but now it is time to get more into
Let’s talk about
the widely discussed question how to prune Once-Blooming Roses.
recommendation in several sources: It is not necessary to prune once-blooming
roses. That would be the easy-rose-gardening way too, but I have a slightly different
approach to that topic.
Read about my personal
opinion for once-bloomers separately and how to prune the different types of
roses on the following pages.