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All About Pruning Rose Bushes

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Pruning rose bushes is an important part of the care of the sometimes delicate plants. However, it is important to handle the job correctly, not to cut away too much of the plant, in order to be rewarded with a fuller, healthier rose bush.

Best Time for Pruning Rose Bushes

This is actually a critical question because cutting back your rose bushes at the wrong time could lead to disastrous results. If your bush has rose that blush more than once during the year, then the early spring is the correct time to be pruning rose bushes. Wait until the last hard frost has hit your area and prune the plants just as the buds are beginning to swell. Only if your plant blooms just once a year should you be pruning rose bushes in the summer, according to garden experts.

Tips for Pruning Rose Bushes

  • Look for dead wood. Any parts of the plant that are brownish or gray and have no new growths are dead wood. However, be careful not to prune the plant too radically. If part of the cane is green, only cut out the damaged portion.
  • Check your cuts. The only way to be sure you have gotten all the diseased or dead portion of a cane is to look inside. If the inside looks whitish, then your cut has just reached a healthy portion of the plant. If it is brown inside, then you must cut back more.
  • Take the right angle. Make cuts at 45-degree angles, which means the new growth should be facing up and out from the plant.
  • Take out bad canes. It's common for rose bushes to have cross-crossed canes or canes that manage to grow in the wrong direction. Cut these back so that your plant will look uniform and will not develop any empty patches.
  • Take care with climbing roses. If you have the climbing variety, don't do any pruning for at least the first two years. That allows the plant to become filled with flowers and to establish a direction and framework. Then, be on the lookout for canes that are dead or damaged.

Benefits of Pruning Rose Bushes

  • Encourage growth. By getting rid of dead canes, you are maximizing the growth potential of the plant. The plant focuses on diseased or dead canes, but when they are removed, the focus turns to flower production.
  • Keep plant healthy. Don't let the dead canes spread and compromise the health of your plant. Pruning rose bushes ensures that air and sunshine can make it to the center of the plant.
  • More blooms. You can "train" your plant to bloom throughout much of the year with by pruning rose bushes whenever you spot new growth that has just begun.
  • Redirect your plant. Pruning is also a way to encourage growth in the direction that you want.

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