Article on Pruning Roses just added to BexRose Web Site

A rose pruning guide has just been added to the BexRose web site at:- http://home.btconnect.com/cadoss/bexrose
You'll find the article under 'Rose Articles'
Any comments, good or bad, will be gratefully recieved.
Enjoy.
Martin Double BexRose, Webmaster.
Email: snipped-for-privacy@btconnect.com Web Site: http://home.btconnect.com/cadoss/bexrose
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I'm in the midst of spring pruning of my roses so this information is current as well as useful. I didn't know about basel stems losing productivity after 3 or 4 years. Most books I've read simply state "cut off older canes" without saying why. Since I only started my rose garden late in 1998, and have lost a number of roses to weather or my ignorance (that process seems to have stabilized, and I have lost only 1 or 2 roses out of 150 in the past year), it's only in recent years that I've had roses survive long enough to have older canes. :)
The only question I might have about cutting back canes due to age is whether that applies to old garden or antique roses. Many of them seem to have a longer life span than moderns (due to growing in their own roots??), so I wonder if the advice about cutting out 4 year old canes should be conditioned by the type of rose bush.
Other than that the article seems very clear to me, including all the important information and written very well.
Gail near San Antonio TX USA Zone 8
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Thanks for your feedback.
I must confess that I am no expert when it comes to old garden roses, but those varieties that I have noticed in my travels appear to fall into one of two groups. The group that produces minimal new flowering growth from the base I would put into the same category as a Floribunda type. The other type that produces new growth that has borne no flowers should be treated more like a rambler.
There are exceptions to every rule and cutting back stems due to age could well be one of them, especially when dealing with old garden roses. A rose bush that produces ample new growth each year can have older growth cut back hard or cut out without causing problems and this will keep your plant forever young. On the other hand older growth can be retained, with light or no pruning, especially if there are insufficient new stems to replace these.
In some cases it is possible to leave older growth, on some old garden varieties, for more than three or four years. Decreasing vigour of older stems will then become your warning signal to remove the stem when the time is right. But don't forget that in general pruning has a regenerative effect on roses and can prompt new growth where there was previously no sign of this happening.
As a general rule I would still prune wood from a plant that has produced no new basal growth in the previous season. Pruning two third of stems lightly and one third hard. Remember also that any new stems that have not as yet flowered should not be pruned, unless of course they are blind shoots.
Regards
Martin Double BexRose
Email: snipped-for-privacy@btconnect.com Web Site: http://home.btconnect.com/cadoss

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You're welcome.

garden roses, but

to fall into one of

growth from the

type. The other type

be treated more

Makes sense. I'm not as good an observer of my roses as I should be, so I hack away in early spring and hope for the best.

due to age could

garden roses.
I have a New Dawn climber that has one cane 2" in diameter and it was planted in late 1999, so it's not all that old. I read in several of my rose books that as long as a cane is productive, not to cut it. I was agonizing over cutting out that huge cane, which probably accounts for 50% of the bush. Just to be sure, I plan to check with the nice people at a local Antique Rose Emporium and if they say to cut it out, I will.
A rose

older growth cut back

keep your plant

On the other hand older growth can be retained, with light or

to replace these.
Those are good points. I have several roses that aren't very vigorous, but I like the blooms a lot and rather than shovel prune them I nurse them along on 1 or maybe 2 canes. I could replace them with a rose of the same variety, I suppose, and hope the new version would do better. I have tried adding epsom salts to the soil and even roughing up the bud union a bit with a file or metal brush to try to encourage basel breaks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

some old garden

vigour of older

stem when the time

regenerative effect

previously no sign of

My problem is I'm mostly a casual rosarian. I'm good about water, food and pruning, but I don't observe carefully so couldn't tell you about the growth & bloom habits of most of my roses, other than at the extremes, e.g. - Teasing Georgia is a growin', bloomin' fool, and Purple Tiger barely survives, producing only a few blooms. I think a good goal for this year is to take notes about which canes produce blooms, and which don't.

that has produced no

I like that rule. :)
Pruning two third of stems lightly

I've done that on a number of roses this season. Nice to know my "guess" was right!

blind shoots.
Well, I didn't follow that rule on some of my most vigorous plants, else I wouldn't be able to prune much! I don't like pruning new growth but sometimes it's justified, e.g. to keep the center of the bush open. It's humid enough here that that is a concern, and warm enough that in most years the roses don't go completely dormant, and are putting out new growth by late January.
Thanks for the additional information. I'm learning, if slowly!
Gail
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Gail Epsom salts contains Magnesium and Sulfur neither of which have much to contribute to basal breaks.(healthy leaves and chlorophyll)
What you want to try for basal breaks is Alfalfa, either pellets or meal. I get it in 50 lb bags at my local feed store.
Emilie NorCal
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I need to study the subject -- looks like a good introduction. As I have a lot of room and I'm lazy, my pruning right now consists of deadheading and removing any deadwood -- and any crossing canes that might cause a tangle. Nothing else. As I've recently acquired a mess of hybrid teas on the cheap (even though they are not my favorite type of rose), I'll probably have to start pruning them in earnest; the old garden roses seem perfectly content with what I'm doing, or rather not doing.
Mark. snipped-for-privacy@gator.net
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