Pruning your roses is one of the more important and intimidating tasks that goes with proper rose care. It takes a steady hand and the proper procedure to ensure the best possible growth for your rose bush. Pruning your roses is basically the act of getting rid of dead and damaged pieces, and teaching the new growth to grow in the correct outward facing direction. That just means that you are training them to grow facing the outside of the shrub or bush. This gives your roses the correct amount of circulating air to thrive in. Rose pruning isn't as complicated as some people make it out to be. In fact, there are only a few basic rules. If you keep these in mind whenever you pick up your pruning shears, you'll be rewarded with beautiful bushes that reflect the care that you put into them.
Rose bushes that are not pruned can grow into large tangled messes with small and inferior blooms. How much you prune depends on what you are trying to accomplish and on how well established the plant is.
Do not cut canes straight across. All cuts should be at an angle of between 40 to 65 degrees. Always make sure that the shear's cutting blade is on the lower side of the cane in order to insure a clean cut. This way any injury to the plant will be on the upper part of the cane which will be discarded.
Hard Pruning -- Cut canes back to 3 or 4 buds from the base or the bud unions. The end result will be strong canes about 4 to 5 inches in length. This pruning technique works best with new hybrid tea, grandiflora, and floribunda varieties. You should not do hard pruning with established bushes because they may not recycle. The only exception is as a last-ditch effort to revive sick or neglected bushes.
Moderate Pruning -- Cut strong stems back to approximately half of their length. Weaker stems may be cut back even more, if needed. This technique works well with established gardens of floribundas, hybrid teas, grandifloras, and tree roses.
Light Pruning -- Cut the canes back to around 2/3 of their length. After all the unwanted "wood" is removed, any remaining stems are "tipped". Light pruning is not usually recommended for most bushes, because it tends to produce early blooms and poorly developed flowers. Use this technique only if others are not working and the bush is an eyesore.
Pruning at the right time can be just as important as how you prune. Bushes should not be pruned until they begin coming out of dormancy. This can be as early as January in warm weather areas to as late as April in very cold areas. In colder areas do not prune un till all danger of frost is past.
Here is a list of the proper techniques to guide through the pruning process.
* Soak your pruning shears in equal parts of water and bleach. This will help to protect your roses from diseases
* Pruning in the early spring, just after the snow melts is best. However you want to do it before any new growth
appears. The best time would be when the buds are swelled, or red.
* Hand shears are the best tool for pruning the smaller branches. (about 4 1/2 inches thick) Loppers are best for
the branches that are thicker or the thickness of a pencil. This will make it easier. You should use a heavy pair
of rose gloves to avoid the thorns.
* You want to get rid of the winter protection that you set up like cones, burlap, and mounded soil.
* You want to get rid of the dead wood first. (That would be the black wood that is black inside as well as out).
* Next, you want to get rid of the thinner wood, which is the stems that are thinner than a pencil.
* Cut all of the branches that cross or overlap one another because these are often diseased or will become so.
* Keep the remaining five healthy branches. These are often dark green. You will want to make your roses fluted or
vases shaped, with an open center, and keep them from touching or overlapping each other.
* Cut your healthy canes to be about one to four feet long, or whatever size that you prefer.
* Cut you roses properly so that they stay healthy. Cut so that the bud is facing outside of the bush and at a 45
degree angle that slopes inward so that you can keep promoting the outward growth.
* You should use bypass pruners that work like scissors and not the anvil types because the anvils crush the stems
and make the roses more available to diseases.
Proper pruning is easy, and it is the key to a happy, healthy rose garden. Enjoy your summer roses.