Pruning Shrub Roses

Shrub Roses, a.k.a. Floribunda Roses or Bush Roses, need to be trimmed back in the spring.

Technically, I should have trimmed back my roses a month ago, but it’s May 1st and it’s not too late.

Most of my roses were non-judiciously pruned during the winter by browsing deer. I don’t understand how deer can eat the rose canes when they have those huge, sharp thorns! Regardless, the deer love them but it doesn’t seem like they’ve actually harmed the plants too much with their munching. There is this one rose bush which, for whatever reason, wasn’t tasty to the deer so I’ll have to prune it myself. Here’s the starting picture:

Rose-before-pruning

First, I cut out everything that’s totally dry with no signs of life. I cut these as low as I possibly can. Then I cut the remaining stalks so they are no more than 18″ tall. This is an arbitrary number, but if I don’t cut them back, they’ll be so tall they will break. I choose a viable outward-facing leaf bud and then cut above that at an angle. Here’s some pictures:

cutting point
An outward-facing (means it’s growing away from the center of the plant) leaf bud (you can see the little leaves emerging).
after-cut
Cut above the leaf bud at an angle to preserve all the growing cells in the stem.
Finished-pruning
All done! The shrub is substantially smaller, with only main, healthy canes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll need to watch that the new growth coming in at the bottom doesn’t become too crowded. ┬áThe pruning seems very drastic, but my shrubs always come back strong.

I wore my good leather fingertip gloves and long sleeves, but I still got poked!

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