Saturday, April 17, 2021

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Gardeners Corner: Pruning hybrid tea roses

Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses usually get extensive pruning in late winter such as January.

Pruning tends to produce larger blooms on longer, stronger stems. Also, pruning removes weak and dead canes along with diseased canes. Annual pruning is recommended but not required. There several good reasons to prune your roses. Pruning invigorates plant and shoot growth. Second, to maintain the plant shape and appearance. Roses left unpruned can become scraggly.  An important reason to prune your roses is to remove dead and diseased canes. Lastly, pruning encourages new buds to “push” at the base creating new canes.

The ideal time in our climate zone is in the winter. If you have a large rose bush, head it back to about 3 feet tall. This will help you “see” the plant. Begin by cutting away all dead and diseased canes and twiggy growth. 

Next, prune off twisted and intertwined canes. Select canes to create a vase-shaped bush with an open center (if you are looking down on the plant it should look like bicycle spokes). Use sharp pruning shears to make a precise clean cut. Be sure that all cuts are just above a bud. Ideal cuts are at 45-degree angle and away from the bud. Three to seven canes may be left depending on size and age of plant. Prune out older canes, cut them down to the bud union (the swelling at the base of the plant). leaving strong younger canes. Lastly, shorten the entire plant by one-third to one-half. This should leave a plant about 2 feet tall. Remove all leaves. Do not seal the cuts with tar.

Some equipment is needed. Long sleeved shirts and leather gloves are essential. The long sleeves and leather gloves keep you from being scratch and poked by the thrones. You will also need pruning shears and possibly loppers and a pruning saw.

For more gardening information go to: cecolusa.ucanr.edu.

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