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Pruning Roses and Other Ornamentals

March 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Columns, Virginia Gardening No Comments

By Donna Willliamson

There are always days in March that warm a gardener’s heart and bones. Little leaves are starting to show themselves and there is spring in the air.

Pruning roses might seem difficult but it is simple. Of course there will be scratches from thorns you rub against in the process. Take long gloves if you have them, sharp prunig shears, a lopper for work at the rose base, and a small container of white glue.

The glue is for the end of the branches – it will make it hard for borers to tunnel into the rose cane. Just dab a bit after pruning and let it harden.

Roses have many visible buds along the cane. Prune to an outward facing bud. That will encourage the next branch to grow out rather than in or sideways. Congrsted leaves and branches don’t allow air to move easily withi the rose bush and encourage diseases. Rose diseases don’t need any help.

Cut the canes to about 1.5 to 2 feet tall. I know that might sound severe. The roses can put on three-four feet of growth in the summer. So now that is a five to six foot tall shrub.

Roses bloom on the ends of the branches. Cutting them for a display of frageant flowers in your home will be lovely. Make sure to cut just above a leaf with 5-leaflets. That is where the next flower bug is hiding.

Of course you will want to remove any dead or broken branches, and any branches that head into the center or into another branch. Look for a moment and decide which one to sacrifice.

Climbing roses should be printed to 2-3 strong canes which will bloom over several years along the lateral/side branches. As the rose ages, let one or two new canes emerge and after they get strong, you can remove the older cased.

One tip on prining caryopteris, sage, lavender, santolina – pretend that there is a mixing bowl over theim and cut off everything else. Should look like a tight mount.I know there will be fresh growth at the far ends of the plants. Ignore it. They will last years longer in your garden if you are ruthless and merciless.

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