by Geriann Green-MASTER GARDENER
Everyone who grows roses is probably wondering what they can do now to prepare roses for a healthy beautiful year. It begins with proper pruning at the proper time. February and early March in West Texas are the best times to prune most varieties of roses. But be sure to wait until the last hard freeze has passed. Before starting, make sure your tools are sharp. Dull tools may cause tears and rips in the stems. It is also important that tools be disinfected either with bleach water or a disinfecting spray between each rose.
There are several different varieties of roses and each will appreciate being pruned differently.
The early blooming Climbers such as Lady Banks, should be pruned after they finish blooming.
Shrub roses will ask that you trim them back just a little.
Floribundas and Grandifloras should be pruned annually by 1/3.
Tea roses require the most pruning. They like to be trimmed all the way back, leaving 3 – 4 main stems 18 – 24 inches long.
The EarthKind roses and Old Garden Roses require very little trimming. If needed, by no more than 1/3.
Drift Roses may only need a little shaping after the dead wood is removed.
Rose Pruning Principles
Always prune dead or damaged wood back to healthy tissue.
Remove woody old canes; saw them off as close to the bud union as you can get.
Prune to ensure the center of the bush is open for maximum air circulation to help prevent Black Spot.
Make your pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle, above a strong bud that has not opened and points outward about 1/4 inch above a leaf axil (bud). Slope the cut down and away on the opposite side. Pruning to an outward-facing bud also promotes outward growth and opens up the plant to air circulation. If your rose has leafed out, prune it’s stems back to just above the first leaf with five leaflets.
5. After you have completed pruning your rose bush, clean up debris from around the bush.
Now enjoy your roses and their new blooms! 3-5-2018