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Rose Pruning...of old roses

Garry Williams gdwill at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 14 00:18:57 EST 1997

lupine at pacbell.net wrote:

>I love to prune roses, and I can prune them to where they look really 
>good.  I ran into a problem that I could use some help on.  I have seen 
>many roses in my neighborhood that are very old.  The roses are also 
>neglected, and have been pruned by people who know nothing about the art 
>of pruning.  I was wondering how someone would approach pruning a rose 
>that has two very thick, old canes.  The form of the rose bush is in the 
>shape of a Y, with all of the new grow stemming from the tops of each of 
>the old canes.  What kind of advice would you have for fixing the form of 
>this rose bush, and giving the plant a chance to thrive and produce new 
>Jen B.

First off, it depends on what kind of rose we are talking about. Some
roses only bloom on year old wood, and some bloom on new wood. Even
amongst the roses that bloom on new wood, some don't appreciate heavy
pruning, and others do just fine. Then there's the question of whether
these roses are shrub roses or climbers. If you can tell us whether
these roses are Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, once blooming Ramblers,
recurrent blooming Climbers, Gallicas, Chinas, etc, etc we can give
you just the right sort of pruning advice. If you haven't a clue, it's
all just guesswork. Get the answers to as many of these questions as
you can, then repost your query to rec.gardens.roses where you will
find a zillion rosarians from all over the world, and even from other
countries who will be able to give you just the right advice for the
type of roses you have and for the type of climate you have (yet
another important factor!). If you're not sure of the answer to some
of the more crucial questions, it may be possible to locate a
consulting rosarian in your area (affiliated with the American Rose
Society-which also monitors r.g.r.) that makes house calls and will be
able to make positive ID and give regionally specific pruning advice.
BTW, ARS consulting rosarians consult for free-it's their mission to
promote the enjoyment of rose growing. :-)

Garry Williams
 gdwill at earthlink.net or
 gdwill at william.salzo.cary.nc.us

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