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Rose bush care #122404 - Ask Extension

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Rose bush care #122404

Asked April 18, 2013, 4:59 PM EDT

I bought a new home last fall and moved in in Sept. I have inhereted 27 rose bushes to care for and I have never had one before. They were beautiful in the fall and I don't want to do harm to them. When should I prune and how? Warm Regards, Renee Julien

Arapahoe County Colorado

Expert Response

Hi Renee,

This has been an unusual spring in that we have had very cold temperatures which are not normal for this time of year. Ordinarily I would say that mid to late April would be ideal for pruning, but you may want to wait several more weeks just in case we have more very cold weather. Pruning roses too early may result in further dieback and the need to prune again. 

Look at the canes carefully and you will see where the green stops and the brown begins. Using a sharp bypass pruner, you want to prune just below the brown area, preferably just above an outward facing bud. This will help the new growth form to the outside, creating a vase shaped bush that has better air circulation in the center.

Also, it is good to keep in mind that during dry periods like last winter, it is important to give roses supplemental water when the ground is not frozen. Roses originated in sub tropical regions where there is substantially more precipitation that we get here along the front range and they need to be watered when it is dry.

For further reading I am including links to rose care for the fall and winter also. Don't hesitate to call the Extension office or email us if you have questions or concerns this summer or if you see any evidence of insects or disease.

In addition, roses are pretty heavy feeders. You may want to purchase a systemic rose food & insecticide at a garden center to give them a boost.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1761.html

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1726.html

This is some information from several years ago but it is still relevant:

http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Flowers/Roses/preprose.htm

Good luck & enjoy your roses!
Judy Kunz Replied April 19, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT
Judy K-
Thank you so much for the advice. I can definitely use the help. Take care, Renee
The Question Asker Replied April 25, 2013, 11:47 PM EDT

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