Rose Pruning Basics
What to do with your roses during this mild coastal winter.
We are enjoying a very mild spell compared to last year’s brutal winter, and I’ll take it! The roses are sprouting out as if it’s spring, and most of us are anxious to start pruning. Well guess what? You can do some pruning now (if you choose) or you can wait until spring really gets here. Before you start in on some pruning remember a few key things about roses:
1. They need and enjoy their winter rest/dormancy. Trust me: so do I!
2. They have lots of energy stored in the plant during winter and this is used to push all the wonderful spring growth we are starting to see now.
3. If we hard prune a rose too early, and winter comes back with a vengeance, the rose does suffer. It won’t kill the rose, but if it’s a tender or weak plant it can slow down that spring flush of growth.
4. Large, hardy shrub-type roses, ramblers, ground covers, and old garden roses, are extremely resilient and won’t mind having an early pruning in a mild winter.
5. Temperatures causing a little frost won’t do any damage to a rose pruned early, but it would be nice if the freshly pruned rose didn’t see extremely low temperatures for long periods of time.
Thanks to Pat Pryce for sending along this article from Brad Jalbert of Select Roses in Langley. On his website, you can find a longer, more detailed article called “Rose Pruning Basics”, and another “Growing Roses in Containers”, as well as lots of great pictures and new selections of roses.