Tipton column


Brad Tipton

OSU Extension Educator


Roses are one of the most popular landscape shrubs because of their great show of color during bloom. However, there are a number of pruning styles practiced, based on the type of rose and when blooming starts.

The timing of rose pruning is a bit tricky in Canadian County. Homeowners pruning too early can cause plants to leaf out before our freezing weather is totally behind us.

On the other hand, homeowners have waited too long once a rosebush leafs out. Pruning following bud break results in the loss of all the potential energy produced in these branches.

Therefore, landscapers who want the textbook answer as to when to prune their roses should wait until mid-March. If late January or early February ends up being warmer than normal, then pruning should take place sometime in late February or early March.

Bush, tea, floribunda and grandiflora roses should be cut back to five to 12 canes that are 18 to 24 inches long. Make pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle and one-fourth inch above a bud. Angled cuts shed water and reduce disease problems.

Always select rose buds that point outward away from the center of the plant.  Growth from these buds will form branches that grow away from the plant center.

Climbing roses should not be pruned during their first two or three years of establishment. Then prune out old flowering canes, weak new canes and suckers.

Climbing roses that bloom once each year are best pruned immediately after they bloom. Ever-blooming and hybrid climbing roses need to be pruned in early spring.

Train climbing roses to a surrounding arch, arbor or fence, allowing their branches to grow out to be in a horizontal position. This will increase the number of flowers and leaves, which gives branches a lush appearance.

Miniature roses should always be pruned very lightly. First, prune out dead branches and then make cuts to shape the bush. Older miniature roses can be pruned similar to a bush rose, leaving five to 12 canes that are around 4 to 6 inches long.

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