Monday, January 18, 2010

Last of the Roses

Everyone knows that the queen of the garden is the rose. Even the most rustic garden needs a little sophistication and elegance. Here, my Don Juan rose proves my point. These end of the season roses are fit for Miss America's runway bouquet. I like my roses to intermingle with the rest of the garden, slightly wild is a good thing. But, that doesn't mean out of control. January is the best time for winter pruning. The reason we prune is to encourage and direct the growth of the rose bush. It also maximizes the bloom potential and stimulates new growth. All this should be done just before the growing season.

These are the basic principles of rose pruning.

  • Identify good, healthy canes. Good canes are usually thicker than a pencil, green, and free of disease.
  • Identify poor canes. These are the weak, brown, spindly, distorted or dead canes. Suckers, or shoots that grow below the bud union need to be completely removed.
  • Thin-out poor growth and canes crossing in the center of the bush.
  • As a general rule, prune rose bush 1/2 to 1/3 of its former height.
  • Cut approximately 1/4 inch above the outward facing bud. The cuts should be at a 45 degree angle.
  • Strip all of last years remaining leaves off the canes.
  • Use sharp tools so you don't damage the tissue of the canes. By-pass style pruners are best for pruning rose canes.
  • Seal cuts with Elmer's glue.
  • Try to open up the center of the plant and choose healthy canes that are equally distributed around the center of the plant. This opens the plant to more sun and air, giving the rose bush more room to grow. The number of strong canes remaining will be determined by the age, condition of growth, site and type of rose. This will typically be 4 to 6 canes.
  • Clean up all clippings and leaves from around the rose bush. Bag and toss debris to prevent last years fungus and insect problems from spreading.
  • Finally, dig around base of rose and add new mulch.

The Valley's Rose Societies are a great place to watch and learn. Mesa East Valley Rose Society, West Valley and Glendale Rose Society are ready and willing to show new gardeners just where to start.

1 comment:

Garden Goddess said...

Yes - they are beautiful even on there way out!

Happy Digging,
The Garden Goddess