Care for and Prune Roses


Roses add beauty to any garden landscape. However, many inexperienced gardeners tend to avoid these colorful and fragrant flowers because they believe they are difficult to grow and maintain. Caring for roses is actually not as challenging as one might think.


Watering Basics

Roses can be picky. They don’t like being too wet, but they also don’t like being dry. Only the first inch of soil surrounding your rose plant should be dry. If the soil is dry deeper than this, it’s time to water. Roses tend to do better when they can have a nice long drink of water on a regular basis. Ideally, set your sprinklers so that they offer a nice soaking without too much runoff. Be careful to avoid a hard stream of water because this might compact the soil and lead to erosion and disease. It’s generally a good idea to water in the early morning so your roses will have enough time to dry before night. You can also add mulch to help the soil retain moisture at the root area.

Feeding your Plants

Roses like to eat regularly, so selecting the right fertilizer is an important part of their care. Choose an organic fertilizer (i.e., manure, bone meal, fish fertilizer, blood meal). Lime is another additive that can be beneficial to roses. Roses like lime so much you should consider adding a lime supplement once a year.


Pruning, in 6 Easy Steps

The best time to prune your roses is in early spring before the new growth has begun.

Step 1

Make sure you have all the necessary tools. For thin branches, use hand sheers. For thicker branches (1/2 inch or more), use long-handled loppers. These tools will give you more leverage for a clean cut. Purchase a pair of heavy leather gloves to save your hands and arms from the thorns.

Step 2

Cut dead wood. Dead wood is blackened throughout and brittle.

Step 3

Remove spindly wood that is thinner than a pencil.

Step 4

Remove stems that rub against each other. These spots can become prime areas for disease invasion.

Step 5

Look for five or six very sturdy and thick stems to remain on the bush. Begin trimming to create a vase shape that is open in the center and has no crossing or rubbing branches.

Step 6 

Shorten your selected healthy stems to 12″ to 14″, depending on the height of the rose bush. A good guide is to reduce the overall plant height by a third or a half.

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