It’s about time to prune your roses. Roses should typically be pruned when the Forsythia blooms or around tax time, right around April 15th. Roses need to be pruned to promote healthy new growth. If the temperature is above freezing and will remain so around tax time then you can prune your roses.
Most roses need to be pruned about two thirds from the top of the plant. Rugosas and Climbers should be pruned about one third from the top. If the rose is established and 3 years or older look at the base of the plant and take a few canes from the center. This helps with good air circulation.
You will have die back from the cold weather. When you prune look for a creamy white center on the freshly cut canes. Make your cuts on an angle. If the center is brown, take more. Use Elmers wood glue to seal the new cuts. This prevents entry by Cane borers. Add a little bit of food coloring to the glue to help you see which canes have been done.
You should also start to fertilize. Fish emulsion mixed at the rate of 2 tablespoons per gallon of water is the best product to start with. Use about one half a gallon per plant. I also recommend that you use a slow release fertilizer like Rose Tone to keep those nutrients coming. Broadcast about half a cup around the base of the plant.
We have some great roses coming. Check the website for our May rose class. Our first rose delivery will be the first week of May. I look forward to seeing you this coming season.
Have a rose question? Larry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.