Shape

Aim for a balanced-looking plant with evenly distributed canes, with the center of the plant somewhat open.

Use clean, sharp clippers, and cut at a 45-degree angle. Cut near a bud eye, the tiny brownish or reddish bump on the stem (not to be confused with a thorn). Experts advise cutting >4 inch above a bud eye so the bud eye doesn't dry out. Figure 9-3 shows you a typical rosebush before and after pruning.

Beyond the basics of pruning roses, here are specific pruning tips for certain rose types (see the earlier section "Identifying the various rose types" for info on how some of them differ):

1 Hybrid teas: Prune every early spring. You can cut back almost all the canes, sparing the five or so best ones.

1 Old garden roses: Do not prune in early spring, or you may remove the coming show. Restrict your cuts to cosmetic trimming and shaping right after they finish blooming.

1 Grafted roses: Don't cut any closer than about 6 inches from the bud union unless you're removing diseased or dead wood.

i Shrub roses: You can cut vigorous shoots originating near the ground back by about a third in early spring. Branches coming off shrub roses can be shortened to about 1 foot long. And keep after the twiggy growth, or you may have an impenetrable thicket in a few years.

i Minis: Spare the minis — they're so small already. Just shape miniature roses lightly in early spring, and maybe take out old stems every few years to make way for newcomers.

i Tree roses: Clip and shape tree roses in early spring and immediately after flowering. Vigorous growth, unchecked, makes for a top-heavy, unwieldy plant.

i Climbing roses: Many climbing roses bloom on last year's wood, so prune only what you need for maintaining the shape you want — the process is similar to what you use for old garden or heirloom roses.

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