How to Trim Roses - Keep Them Fresh and Healthy
How to Enjoy Your Roses for Years to Come
Many people wrote many books on how to grow roses and how to trim them. Of course they are right, you have to trim roses to stimulate the forming of new buds. Sure, I will show you some tricks too, but I want to show you a different take on the normal trimming too. One that I practise since I've visited a rose garden some ten years ago.
Does a Rose Need to Be Pruned Each Year?
The owner of the rose garden I visited some ten years ago told me this: "I don't prune my roses each year in the way the books teach you. I cut off canes that are growing in a direction where I don't want them. Every few years I prune them a bit more thorough. I remove the old stems so new ones can take their place. I don't trim my roses real short because then you trim a lot of flowers away".
Well, he could do that, because most of his roses in the high borders were landscape roses and ramblers. They thrive rather well on not pruning or trimming.
My Experiece on Not Trimming Roses At All
I took what the man said about cutting off all the flowers quite litteral and I didn't trim my old type roses at all. I cut off a cane here and there and my rose garden bloomed and bloomed and bloomed. Until of course it got total out of hand and my garden turned into an impenetrable wildernis.
It took me a lot of work to get it back in some order again and since then I do trim and prune my roses the way he told me to. Each spring, but not too much and not too short. I deadhead most of the roses during the summer and that works fine for me.
Before You Start Trimming
You could try but I don't think handling roses without proper gloves would become you. Some roses have really thick thorns and there are roses that have thousands of little thorns all over their stems.
Most of the time I like garden gloves that let me feel what I'm doing.
However, when handling roses you really need some thicker gloves where the thorns won't hurt you the moment you touch them and the stems of some roses are just filled with thorns.
What Are the Best and Easy to Use Trimming Tools?
Trimming roses can become quite a burden when you have many roses to trim and you don't use the right tool for the right job. When I started I used the normal everyday pruning shears and loppers but I often had to squeeze very hard to cut the stem which caused muscle strain in my hands.
Pruning my roses and other bushes became a really easy and joyful job when I discovered the ratcheting pruning shear and the ratcheting lopper. Never again would I suffer from aching hand muscles after pruning the roses and bushes in our farmhouse garden. With these ratcheting tools, pruning has become very easy, because it cuts through the thicker canes in no time without having to use much strength. When you start cutting you'll notice it will only cut a small part. Then you have to open it a bit until you hear a 'click' (you can feel it too), then squeeze again, open it till 'click' and squeeze again. These shears increase the cutting power up to 300 percent.
However as it is with everything; different people have different opinions and the same goes for the shears and loppers. Just in case you need to take out a very thick and wooded rose cane, the best tool to do that is the pruning saw. It's an easy to use and not expensive very sharp little saw that can be folded like a razor blade. I use it all the time.
I can only speak from my own experience and therefore I recommend these ratcheting tools strongly. They will make your pruning time a fun time.
How to Trim a Rose the Best Way
A rose is a rose is a rose they say, but that is certainly not the case as it comes to the different types of roses. Each type of rose requires a different way of trimming or pruning. For some roses it's best to trim or prune them in the late Fall, for others it's best to wait until Spring when there's no threat anymore of night frost.
- Floribunda Rose and HybridTea Rose
These can be virtually pruned the same way. The Floribunda rose has multiple flowers on one stem and the Tea rose has only one flower per stem. They both bloom repeatedly during the summer.
- Shrub Roses or Landscape Roses
Shrub roses are hardy and easy to care for roses that come in a great variety of smaller and bigger rose bushes. Most of them need some space. Some are repeat bloomers, some bloom only once a year. There are single or double blooms in many different colors.
- Climbing Roses and Rambler Roses
The main difference between these two climbing roses is that a climbing rose is a repeat bloomer and that a rambler blooms only once a year, with a few exceptions. You also can let a rambler climb into an old fruit tree, which I did with the rambler Mme. Le Gras de St. Germain.
If You Have the Space Then Give Your Roses Some Freedom
What Is the Best Way to Remove the Deadhead Roses?
Deadheading Roses means: you take out the dead flowers during the blooming time of the rose.
However...don't just take off the flower, because then it won't grow a new one.
Look for the first or second healthy leave below the flower which is pointing outwards and cut it off just above that leave. This will stimulate the rose to grow a new flower carrying branch.
Mind you, that will only succeed with roses that will flower all summer. There are some old roses which will flower only once a year.
Are You Familiar with Deadheading Roses?
© 2013 Titia Geertman