Pruning Roses

A gardener recently wrote in:

“When is the best time to prune roses?”

The answer I’m providing is geared towards west coast gardeners in mild winter climates.  According to a workshop I attended several years ago with Nina Rumley, Ocean View Farms’ resident rose expert, we should stop cutting our roses in October and cut watering to once a week.  This encourages your roses into dormancy.

In January, the hard pruning really starts.   That’s when you cut away the dead wood, and prune back all the leaves, leaving a skeleton of the shape you want for spring.  Here is a primer on rose pruning from a back-issue of the Gardenerd Gazette, where we featured rose pruning instructions.

One thing Nina recommends after pruning is to apply Elmer’s glue to the freshly cut tips of your rose canes to discourage pests from boaring into the center.  She also recommends spreading 1/4 cup of epsom salts around the base of your roses (but not touching the plant) starting in March and continuing to apply that amount once every month until October.  Following these instructions, plus regular feeding starting in March, should lead to a beautiful bouquet of roses in springtime.

Thanks for writing in and keep those questions coming.  Does anyone else out there have any nifty rose tips to share?

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