Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to Care for Roses: Annual Pruning - The Goal

I grow roses. A lot of them. About 2 dozen. I put them in when I was pregnant with my first child (external nesting?). I pulled out all the boring and ugly landscaping along my unit, drought tolerant though it may have been.

The neighbors were appreciative. Users of the pool (my unit borders it) always thanked me for making it more delightful to the eye.

I get lots of compliments and questions about rose care. Many think roses are difficult. They are actually pretty easy. You:
  • Prepare the ground and plant;
  • Water;
  • Cut off blooms (keeping them for your table or tossing them), and
  • Annually prune back the plant and prepare the ground, coming full circle.
When you cut your plants correctly (also known as dead heading), it takes about 35 days for new growth to reach blossom stage. In my experience, rose bushes last at least 10 years. Several of mine are pushing 17 years.

As I posted the other day, I'm past due for the annual pruning. Now is the time to buy and plant the bare root roses. I've got a spot or two to fill.

The goal is to go from this (click on any photo to expand it to full size):

to something like this:

You may be asking..."Why, if I have blooms, even in December, do I need to cut back my roses?"

Because they need to rest. God gave everything a time of rest. He gave you one day a week (the Lord's Day) and he gave plants a season. He even gave the ground time off (to lay fallow one year every seven years).  'To everything there is a season...' Eccl 3:1.

Allowing your roses to rest helps them to be strong, healthy, and prevents disease.

Which makes them more productive, and more beautiful.

I've let mine go before, and the results are not good. Weird, thin growth, less blooms, greater leaf diseases.

Wack 'em back each year. They need it.

(This is part of a series of posts on How to Care for Roses. Click on the label "Rose Care" to see all the posts.)

Sheryllyn McClintock

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