Temecula Valley Rose Society
Rose Care Corner, January 2007By Frank Brines - Consulting Rosarian
F undamentals: January is a month of in-betweens. Between blossoms, between rest and work, between dormancy and growth, between pruning and fertilizing. For this month your goal should be to prune all the roses back.
Here's a summary of how to do that:
1. Bring rose shrub down to a manageable size:
- If taller, produces earlier flowers and more flowers.
- If lower, later flowers, larger flowers.
- Dead canes (brown / gray, old, non-productive).
- Criss-crossed, weak, wounded, or broken.
- Passing through center of bush.
- Suckers (with shovel or saw where attached).
3. Prune healthy canes (green, size of pencil or thicker):
- Prune to dormant bud, outward facing.
- Will initiate growth and blooms after pruning.
4. Carefully remove old, dry, scaly semi-loose wood on bud union, careful to not scrape off tiny buds.
5. Take additional care steps:(Remember also that TVRS will be providing pruning workshops at Rose Haven at 10 a.m. Saturday January 20.)
- If thick cane removed at base, seal with Elmer's White Glue.
- Remove all foliage on canes and debris on ground and dispose in the green waste (don't compost).
- Dormant spray on plant parts and ground.
The final pruned plant should be:
- 18" to 24" tall.
- The number of canes depends on the planned use:
- 3-4 for larger flowers, show/exhibition.
- 4-8 for more flowers, smaller flowers, garden viewing/cutting.
- Encourage new basal breaks:
- Apply 2 tsp magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts).
- Scratch into soil around drip zone.
If you prune this month, you can expect healthy new, vigorous foliage and new wonderful and beautiful blossoms in about 12 weeks. When new growth is an inch or two you can fertilize for the first time this year. Watch the weather and make sure that the ground doesn't become dry. Keep some moisture available for the plant to begin growing.
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