GENERAL TIPS ON PRUNING ROSES

Here are some general tips on pruning hybrid teas and floribunda roses from Indianapolis Rose Society’s former president, Mark Nolen.

  1. Always prune to good healthy tissue easily recognized by the green bark on the outside of the cane and white core revealed after the cut is made. If the inner core of the stem is tan, the wood has been damaged and needs to be pruned out.
  2. To accelerate the healing process after the pruning cut is made; a drop of Elmer’s Glue can ensure a quicker recovery as well as provide an instant protective barrier against cane borers.
  3. Prune to ensure the center of the bush is open for maximum air circulation so that canes grow from the bud union like spikes of a wheel with no crossover canes.
  4. Plan to remove all growth on the main stems that is not capable of supporting a reasonable thickness of stem. For hybrid teas, a bloom needs a stem about pencil thickness or greater for support.
  5. If suckers are present (growth from the root structure below the bud union) remove them from as close to the main root below the bud union as possible. If allowed to grow, the sucker will eventually take over the whole rose bush.
  6. Remove old canes that appear to be woody by sawing them off as close to the bud union as possible. Make this cut clean and smooth. Should any stubs from bad cuts made the year before remain, saw them off cleanly. Finally, lightly apply a wire brush to the outside of the bud union to loosen and remove any dead tissue to promote basal growth.
  7. After pruning, the rose bed should be thoroughly cleaned of dead leaves and other debris. This is to reduce the occurrence of various insects and fungi by not allowing them a hiding place. Discard all fallen debris; do not place in the compost pile.
  8. To ensure the destruction of all insects and fungi, apply an organic based dormant spray such as Lime & Sulfur immediately after pruning. Do not wait more than one or two weeks to perform this spraying as the spray may damage emerging growth. If new growth has emerged, use a product called “Mancozeb” or Manzate.

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