Calla | 3/8/2013, 11:53 a.m.
Unless you are in a very cold climate, now is the time to trim your roses back. If you are lucky enough to have a rose garden with lots of bushes then it's time for the serious power tools. Rev up the motor, grab your trimmers and hit those rose bushes like you are trimming a hedge. Most Botanical Gardens use this method because they have far too many roses to dilly dally around with nippers.
We prune roses to discard any dead or diseased branches, remove crossing canes, create circulation in the center of the plant, and to remove suckers. When branches grow out from beneath the crown of your rose bush they are called suckers, and rightly named because they suck the energy away from your plant.
Pruning encourages new growth, more blooms, and strong canes. Every now and then you will find thin straggly branches on your rose bush, whack them back to the thicker branching. If you want stronger wood you have to cut back to the strong wood.
Dead-head your roses, and occasional pruning to keep the bushes healthy is an on-going thing. However once a year you are to do, what we in the business call, a "Hard prune." Rose bushes should be cut down to a third of the height, so if your rose bush is 6 feet tall it should be cut back to 4 feet; have no fear they will grow back again. The one-third rule does not however apply to climbing roses because you want them to climb and cover. Only remove dead or diseased branching on climbers, it is also advised that you should remove the older canes as roses bloom on new wood. However, I must admit that I did not remove the old canes on my Peggy Martin Rose bush last year and it is blooming its head off right now. Check out my website at www.thegardeningdiva.com for my gardening tip of the week, and send me your gardening questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, never get too busy to stop and smell the roses!