Guest Author - Charity Armstrong
Your roses need pruned in late winter or very early spring for a better first bloom. A few simple pruning steps will ensure your roses look neat, groomed and are blooming up a storm. You'll need a pair of sharp pruners, twine for climbing roses and a free afternoon.
Sharp pruners are very important. Pruners that are dull or rusted can spread disease and cause damage to your rose canes when they're cut. Most garden and home improvement centers have small hand sharpeners for pruners in stock right now. Corona is one of my favorite pruning equipment brands and this sharpener is readily available.
Your roses should be pruned when their buds are just starting to swell but they haven't leafed out yet. Depending on your geographic location this time is different for everyone. Generally late winter or early spring are the right times.
Roses that are still overgrown from last year should be completely cleaned up now. If your rose is several years old and has many large tired woody canes you'll want to completely remove the two or three largest of these canes. You should also remove any dead, diseased or damaged canes. Next remove any canes that are crossing over another cane or growing into the center of the bush. Your rose plant should look clean, neat and open in the center. This will ensure proper air circulation in the coming summer months.
Now take a step back and look at your rose. Roses you've only had for a year or two as well as Knock Out Roses and compact shrub roses can usually be left alone at this point. Other types of roses will need a bit more work.
Climbing roses as well as hybrid teas may have cold damage as well as thin cane tips that are unable to support a prolific flush of spring blooms. Clip each rose cane back to an outer facing bud that is thick enough to support blooms and new growth. The narrowest cane you should leave on the plant is about the size of a large pinkie finger or a small ring finger.
Step back frequently while you're pruning your rose to ensure you trim it evenly and are maintaining a pleasing shape. Always taking care to imagine the future rose bush's growth by clipping back to an outer facing bud. Once you're finished be sure to clean up all of your clippings, throw them into the garbage and not the compost pile. Rose clippings are havens for black spot and other diseases. It's also a good idea to completely remove your old rose mulch and replace it with fresh at least once a year. Now is the perfect time for that new mulch application.
Taking the effort to work in the rose garden on those first warm spring days will really pay off once your roses have that first beautiful flush of spring blooms. If you have additional questions about pruning please click on the my below link for more pruning instruction, or send me an e-mail. If you're interested in purchasing the Corona hand held pruner sharpener I spoke of above, it can be purchased from Amazon here: Pruner Sharpening Tool