Cut Back Those Rose NOW!
July 27th, 2007
Many gardeners give up on their roses in the summer, believing they only produce quality flowers in the spring. Rose blossoms do tend to be smaller in the summer and the colors not quite as vivid, because the summer heat forces the blooms to open before blossom size and color pigment have completely developed. But given the proper care, combined with a few simple pruning techniques, roses will re-bloom every six weeks until the first frost.
There are two ways to prune roses during the growing season, and both will encourage new blooms to set. Most roses have leaflets (with three to seven leaves) every couple of inches along the stems. In order to produce blooms you need to prune at least to the second five-leafed leaflet. (Pruning just above will eliminate nasty dead stems called coat hangers).
If you also want to prune for size control, you can go as far down as two leaflets above the previous cut. Pruning beyond the previous cut tells the rose you don’t want it to bloom. Remember that hybrid tea and grandiflora rose stems tend to grow at least 18 inches after each pruning before blooming, so if you only prune the minimum amount you will have a very tall (and possibly leggy) rose by the end of summer.
Because roses are constantly growing, they are in constant need of food. It’s important to feed roses every 6-8 weeks with a quality rose food like Rose Nutri-Paks. Continue feeding through September, and you will have quality rose blooms into fall. So don’t give up on your roses. With a little help, they will provide loads of blooms for you all season long.