Master Gardener: Rose varieties have different pruning needs
BY LISA KLEIN Ask a Master Gardener
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 5:06 AM
Q: I have always pruned my tea roses mid-March. Do the same rules apply to my Knockout roses? Janet S., TulsaA:
All roses will benefit from some pruning, but there can definitely be some confusion due to the wide variety of roses available. Growing patterns, flowering habit and plant vigor should all be considered when deciding how "hard" and when to prune.
Hybrid tea roses require more severe pruning than climbers or shrub roses. Start by reducing the plant height to roughly half. Next, remove any dead or diseased wood, weak canes or canes that are growing toward the center of the plant. Ideally, you want to be left with three to five of the healthiest canes.
Shrub roses, such as Knockouts, are vigorous growers but may not need pruning for the first three years. When pruned, they are very forgiving. Many people cut them back in spring to about two feet below the desired height. Plants that have really outgrown their site can be cut back to about 1 foot high and be expected to produce blooms during the growing season. Knockouts bloom on mature wood but not the old woody canes. Removing one-third of these older canes every spring will keep an established plant rejuvenated, as well as keep the center of the shrub open to air flow.
Climbers and ramblers require even less pruning. Always remove dead and diseased wood and any lateral-growing branches. Varieties that bloom only in the spring should be pruned immediately after they've flowered. Those varieties that bloom spring and summer can get a light pruning after the first round of blooms.
Because any form of pruning will stimulate growth, it is important to get the timing right. For most of our area, roses should not be pruned before March 15. Pruning too early puts new growth at risk of being killed by a late spring freeze.
Marking your calendar for a yearly date with your roses will go a long way toward success with your plants. Proper pruning techniques reduce the incidence of disease, improve the look of your roses and promote the vigorous blooms most of us hope for.
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Original Print Headline: Rose varieties have unique pruning needs
Remove flowers from spring-blooming bulbs after blooming is completed. This will allow the plant to direct its energy into its bulb for next year's blooms, rather than producing seeds.
Allow foliage of these bulb plants to die and turn brown naturally before removal. As long as the leaves are green, they are storing energy for the following year.
These bulbs' root systems become inactive after blooming and cannot absorb fertilizer. It is best to fertilize them at the time of planting, in the fall or in the spring when their leaves first emerge.
Shrub roses may not need pruning for the first three years, even though they are vigorous growers. BILL SEVIER/Courtesy