Tips for Pruning Shrub Roses
How to Prune Roses without Killing Them
The secrets of pruning shrub roses revealed! Find out how to prune rose bushes of many types. How and when to prune modern shrub, old garden, heritage and antique shrub roses.
Rosa Easy Does It
Modern shrub roses are known for their easy maintenance and require little pruning other than to remove dead or damaged wood each spring.
Shape them or reduce their height at this time if you like. This is one of the best types to trim with a power shear as they are not fussy plants.
The old garden roses should be grown as specimen plants. Some grow quite large, so site them accordingly. Don't try to use pruning to keep them smaller as they may resent it.
Not knowing this, I once made the mistake of cutting a specimen Rosa mutabilis back by more than half. I was soon sorry. My beautiful Butterfly rose went into a decline and died despite my best efforts to save it.
After this, I did some research and found out that antique roses should never be trimmed by more than a third.
I later lost another antique rose to an overzealous landscaper who cut it to the ground so my experiences with pruning shrub roses seem to bear this out.
When to Prune Shrub Roses
Red Double Knockout roses perform best when planted in a bed of their own.
The feather palms planted against the house are Dwarf dates.
Prune roses that bloom only once a year and do not repeat immediately after they finish flowering.
If you prune such a rose bush at any other time, you will be removing future flowers.
Repeat bloomers should be pruned in early spring before they break dormancy.
You want shrub roses to go into winter with as much wood as possible. The top portions of the plant offer the lower portions some frost protection and will suffer the most damage.
Once spring arrives, you can cut the damaged portions away and still have a sizable healthy shrub to provide you with fragrant flowers for another growing season.
How to Prune Antique Rose Bushes
The first thing you want to do is remove any dead, broken, or crossing stems. Use a sharp hand pruner. A dull blade will crush the stems instead of slicing through them. This makes the rose more vulnerable to insect invasion.
Make your cuts slightly angled instead of straight across so that water will run off the cut end. Even when completely removing a branch, avoid making flush cuts.
Leave a quarter inch "collar" of wood behind. This helps protect the plant from invasion by insects or disease.
Pruning climbing roses offers instructions for pruning roses that repeat bloom all season. How to prune climbing roses for the first 3 years after planting them. When to prune climbers.
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