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New finish for my old climbing rose #122610 - Ask Extension


New finish for my old climbing rose #122610

Asked April 20, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT

I need to repaint my rose trellis and I have two OLD red climing roses that have to be trimmed back to get to the trellis... please help! I have purchased the house I grew up in and these roses are at least four decades old. I do not want to lose them to repaint. Here are my questions: When should I trim them back? How far back can I take them? Should they be trimmed every year? Thank you for your advise! My moms roses are going to look beautiful on the newly painted trellis! Dayna

Ionia County Michigan

Expert Response

You can cut the roses back to separate them from the trellis.  But cut them as high as possible.  Roses, on their own, do not wind aroound vertical supports.  People push them through and weave them around.  Or someone might have tied them in various locations.  But keep the canes as long as you can.

Lay the vines to one side and cover with a cloth to prevent paint from getting on the plant.  Plastic can trap a great deal of heat and an old sheet or something made of cloth would be better.  Have them covered for as short a time as possible.  When finished, weave the canes through the trellis sides again.

You do not need to prune every year with climbers.  After leaf buds appear in the spring, remove dead wood.  Just prune anything that is causing a problem, like too long.  Mulch the plants, keep them watered if it is dry and consider fertilizing periodically.  If you want to get a soil test for the soil around the roses, you can buy a soil test self-mailer for $25 from and follow the link to the MSU Bookstore.  Good luck.
Gretchen Voyle Replied April 24, 2013, 9:39 AM EDT

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