Let me start this blog post by saying that I’m not an expert on roses. I know how to snip them and I know it’s usually done in February. Of course, there many rose varieties and lots of exceptions but on my commercial site I didn’t worry.
When I took the site over there was a lot of work to catch up on before lawn care started in the spring. Weeds were overdue and I also gave the lawns a nice, sharp blade edge.
By far the ugliest aspect of this commercial landscape were the roses. Since it was still technically winter it was easy to see the tangled mess inside the individual rose bushes. This is what happens when you quickly power shear the roses, season after season. Eventually, without good hand-pruning, the dead brown canes accumulate. Obviously, power shearing is quick and convenient. But I had time…..I was in charge now.
You will note the many brown dead canes. The dead is pruned out first. Then we move on to ugly twisted canes that rub or touch the ground. This pruning requires faith. Trust in your own work. By spring you will be rewarded.
This is the look we should aim for with nice canes pointing outward without crossing or rubbing each other. It looks too harsh at first. Just wait for summer. The rose plants push their available resources into the remaining canes. So for now we wait for the buds to swell and pop.
Growth and buds
See, everything is cool. We have new growth and flower buds. Correctly missing is the useless dead wood.
Take a look at the second picture again. The one that made you cringe because it looked too harsh. Except it wasn’t. I would call this summer success. I knew it would work out because I have done it before. So don’t be shy, have some fun with your roses next February 2018 and watch them go.
The roses require some summer maintenance as the flowers fade. You can clip off the spent rose buds but be careful. Always look for upcoming rose flowers. Keep those on unless you’re pruning for shape. It’s OK to lose some flowers when a long cane reaches into the road for example.