Learn / Ask The Landscape Professional
How do I prune this rose bush? When is the best time to prune, now or in the Spring? Margaret
Hi Margaret, There is a two-part process to prune this rose bush.
Part 1: This Fall
Prune off all of the dead stems back to the ground. If the stem is dead
only half way down, prune only half way down. That's it for now - Most of
the pruning will be done in the spring.
Part 2: Next Spring and after
a) When the new growth starts to emerge from the live stems (usually from
the middle of April to the middle of May)(Caution-do not cut before you see
new growth): Cut back anything that died over the winter. Cut back remaining
live stems to about 2ft tall. If there are any new stems growing towards the
middle of the shrub, cut them off. There needs to be space within the middle
of the shrub to encourage air circulation which, in turn, discourages pests and
b) Fertilize with Rosetone. It's a dry, organic, slow-release fertilizer found
anywhere that sells plants. Take a couple of handfuls and work it into soil
around the base of the plant without touching the main stem. Water in well.
From May through August you will need to fertilize 1x/month. Roses need a
lot of fertilizer to produce flowers all through the growing season. Do not fertilize after September 1st because that would
encourage new growth which could possibly be killed off by a hard frost in October.
c) Place 2-3" of mulch(no more) around the base of the shrub to smother weeds and keep the soil moist and cool. Do
not touch the plant with the mulch.
d) After the first bloom, cut off the dead flowers so the shrub does not produce fruit (rose hip). The energy needed
to make a fruit will take away from creating more flowers. While you are cutting off the dead flowers, thin and shape the
shrub again making sure the center of the shrub stays open.
e) Keep the rose well-watered throughout the growing season. No Water=No Flowers! One 5 gallon bucket of water
each week would be great.
A repeat blooming rose will produce major flfiowers at least twice a season and will sporadically bloom in between the major
blooms if the above protocol is followed. Good Luck!
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.