More Rose Pruning How To

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Pruning and deadheading are essential to proper care of any rose bush. There are nearly as many opinions about how, and when to prune a rose bush, as there are rose bushes in need of pruning. While seasoned rose gardeners have their favorite tried and true methods, this article is geared toward new comers to the practice, who are unsure where to start. As time goes by, you may feel the urge to modify these techniques or even develop new ones of your own. Just be careful, you don't want do more damage than good.

Rose pruning isn't as complicated as some people make it out to be. In fact, there are only 7 basic rules. If you keep these in mind whenever you pick up your pruning shears, you'll be rewarded with beautiful rose bushes that reflect the care that you put into them.

Basic Pruning Rules

1. Always remove any dead or decayed growth. This keeps your bushes looking good and denies disease and insects a place to call home.

2. Always keep the center of the bush free of growth. This denies insects a place to live, and allows good air circulation to avoid fungus infection.

3. Remove crossing branches to promote stronger growth.

4. Shape your rose bushes as they grow. This will change them from wild and wooly to prim and proper, as all good roses should be.

5. Always use sharp pruning shears.

6. Clean the shears after each use to remove any disease or fungus spores.

7. Seal the cuts you've made on canes to keep out disease. Regular Elmer's glue works fine and it is cheap.
After pruning paint all major cuts with a sealer in order to aid in healing, and to help keep out insects and diseases.

Rose bushes that are not pruned can grow into large tangled messes with small and inferior blooms. The following should allow you to grow an attractive well shaped and sized bush with large lovely blooms.

Try to make all cuts down to a cane or if necessary down to about one quarter inch from a strong outside bud union or eye, the eye is where new growth stems from.

Do not cut canes straight across. All cuts should be at an angle of between 40 to 65 degrees. Always make sure that the shear's cutting blade is on the lower side of the cane in order to insure a clean cut. This way any injury to the plant will be on the upper part of the cane which will be discarded.

More Pruning Rules

1. Prune from the ground up. Most people start at the top, this can harm the rose, and it uses your valuable time.

2. If it's old, gray and scraggly looking, cut it off.

3. If there are canes that are growing directly over the center, use your pruning saw or loppers and cut flush with the cane. Also remove any canes that are really crowding each other. Now you are ready to continue pruning.

4. When it comes to height remember this: mentally divide the cane into three equal parts and get ready to remove the top one-third. First, however check on the outward facing bud. It should be located at the intersection of the cane and a leaflet of five. There should be several and if possible find one that faces out.

5. If you have doubts, cut it off. If it's smaller than a pencil it will only produce even smaller stems. For the larger canes be sure to seal with a drop of plain or white glue like Elmers. This will prevent the borers from eating your plant.

6. Get rid of all remaining leaves. This will allow for new leaf growth and prevent fungus infections from the old ones.

7. When pruning, remove all suckers as these grow from the root stock which is different from the grafted bush, and may eventually take over and kill the beautiful roses you purchased.

8. The next step in pruning your roses is to take a soft wire brush and scrub off the woody material on the bud union. Be careful to avoid brushing off any new bud eyes. This is also supposed to stimulate, and provide room for new canes from the bud union.

9. Finally, finish your rose pruning by cleaning up all the dead stuff you've cut away. Get rid of all the old petals and pull the weeds from around the rose bush. This will help to eliminate fungus and insect problems. Finish up by placing new mulch around the rose bushes.

Correct shaping makes for a lovelier bush and allows for appropriate air circulation which makes for a healthier plant. Proper pruning is easy, and it is the key to a happy, healthy rose garden. Enjoy your beautiful roses.

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Author: Luann Hays
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