Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ah, the roses are getting buds. And, I've noticed everyone is starting to prune them. I have fallen in love with roses. Not that my roses are that beautiful. Yet, I have studied them the past few years both through book learning and real life observation.

I have a secret to tell you. I have an unusual hobby. I remember being in Highschool and being asked what my hobbies were. It was a ? I felt badly about it, because I couldn't think of the answer to it. But, now, I think I could come up with 100 hobbies.

So, my hobby? I love to prune. Roses. Rhodies. Trees. Kiwis. Grapes.

People are funny about roses. It seems to me there is a lot of misinformation about roses - or a lot of mystique. But, really, roses are really pretty easy. Here are couple of pointers:


  • You don't have to take roses down to nothing. Leave more canes. The only reason you need to cut the canes off is to cut off dead material, and to provide for more air. How do you know if it's dead and diseased and needs to be taken off? Well, basically you need to take off canes if they are black or mushy. That's it. Now, I had one bush this year that I was disappointed in. I just bought it last year and I love the roses on it. It was a Jackson's Perkins (a good name). Most of its canes were black - so I had to take it back to three or four inches.
  • Cut for airflow and to avoid criss-crossing branches. This is always the rule of pruning. Cut extra branches off to clear up more space in the middle of the plant and allow for airflow and sunlight.
  • Cut your roses at an angle down from your bud. This allows for the sap to flow away from the bud and to seal the cut properly.

Other Tips

  • Roses love lots of light. Plant in full sun.
  • Roses love nitrogen and they like the soil around them to be loose. At the beginning of Spring, turn some soil up at their base and give them some compost and fertilizer.
  • Roses like regular, deep watering - but don't prefer the sprinkler. Water them by soaker hose or by hand once a week during dry times (twice a week during hot, hot weather). Sprinklers spread fungal diseases, so avoid them.
  • Take double leader roses down to one bud when they have two or three buds if you want more "long roses" type roses or more evenly distributed roses. They are cinch to pop off when the flower buds are newly formed. For fuller looking roses bushes leave the extra buds.
  • Treat regularly (every week) for black spot during the main growing season. You can use organic fungal treatment or a baking soda/water mix to treat it. Google it!
  • Make sure and remove your trimmings from the base of your rose bush. This is another way your roses get black spot (the black spots on your leaves that cause the foliage to fall off).

Here are my roses I've just pruned. I'll post updates as the season progresses.


rose_1 rose_2 rose_3 rose_4 rose_5 rose_6 rose_7 rose_8



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