It’s a gorgeous day on Columbia Parkway! The sun is shining and it’s almost 60 degrees F. It’s perfect for doing yard cleanup, putting down some compost and checking on my bees.
I noticed this morning that my rose bushes are starting to bud. Time to do some much needed late winter pruning!
Winter pruning is important for the well-being of roses, as it stimulates the growth of new shoots which will provide flowers.
The best time to prune is just as spring growth starts. It’s not a good idea to wait until the new young shoots are a few inches long as this wastes the plant’s energy and will delay flowering.
The basics of pruning
The first step is easy. Cut out any shoots that are dead and diseased. Spores on these stems can easily reinfect the new shoots in spring so removing them will help with disease control. Also cut out any stems that are particularly weak or rubbing against each other
The next step is to prune the remaining stems. Most roses benefit from moderate pruning, reducing the height by 1/4 to 3/4. I usually trim about 1/3 of the average height of the stems.
If you have the time you can make sure to prune just above the bud and at a slight angle away from the bud. The angle of the cut is more of an issue for Hybrid Teas and Floribundas as they can be more susceptible to die back than shrub roses. I do make sure that my secateurs are clean and sharp.
Once you have finished pruning your roses it’s important to clean up all the cut stems and fallen leaves as they can carry disease onto the next season.
Then apply a good layer of mulch such as garden compost or well rotted manure. No bark mulch please!! This will help to bury any spores left on the soil surface, keep the soil moist and cool, prevent weeds from germinating and feed the microorganisms in the soil.
After I finished pruning, I checked in on my bees. They were flying like crazy!
I was delighted to see they were collecting pollen, not just out for a warm weather potty visit.
I’m adding a third hive this year, so I’m moving the original hive to the bottom of the garden. Moving day is tomorrow! I’ll be sure and let you know how it goes…
- RHS diary: what to do in the garden in February (telegraph.co.uk)
- A January guide to pruning your roses (mirror.co.uk)
- Sharpen clippers for spring pruning (caller.com)
- Make pruning a priority as winter winds down (mysanantonio.com)
- Successful Gardening with Easy Roses. (florafocus.wordpress.com)
- ANN LOVEJOY | Winter rose pruning for summer blossoms (kitsapsun.com)