Wait! Don’t Prune those Roses Yet!

Although you may want to prune your roses in April, resist the temptation. Otherwise you’ll have to deal with dieback of tender new growth. This beauty is a low-maintenance Livin’ Easy rose.

Don’t tell me—you’ve been cutting away at your ornamental grasses, perennials and shrubs, so that new growth can emerge unimpeded.  As long as you’re on a roll, you may as well prune those roses, too.  Right?  Nope.

Don’t prune your roses until late May in Colorado.  If you prune earlier, a late freeze is likely to kill any tender new growth stimulated by pruning.

But when you do get around to pruning, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Remove the 4 Ds: Dead, dying, damaged and diseased rose canes.  Also cut out canes that rub against each other, exposing the wood to potential disease and insect damage.  Then you can focus on shaping the plant.
  • Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle so that water doesn’t pool on top of the cane and cause it to rot.
  • Cut damaged canes about one-half inch into green live wood and about one-fourth inch above a live bud.
  • Seal the cut canes with carpenter’s glue or nail polish to discourage cane borers.

For more information about pruning roses, visit the American Rose Society’s website .  For a rose-growing calendar for Denver and Colorado’s Front Range, review the Denver Rose Society’s handout.

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Filed under Garden Maintenance, Plant Geekiness

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