Pruning Rose Bushes

On another subject other than trees, let’s talk about making your rose bushes look great. I know that some may look as big as a tree when not pruned for a while.

To novice gardeners, the very thought of how they need to learn how to prune rose bushes if they are to raise healthy and vibrant flowering bushes, is a frightening thought. To them, rosebush pruning kind of sounds like brain surgery. In fact, search on the gardening forums on the Internet, and you’ll find that there are way more people asking about how to prune rose bushes then there are asking how to plant them in the first place.

One wonders why this should be such a scary thought to all these gardeners. The pruning part is actually quite a simple thing. If you’re not so sure about what parts to cut, just leave the parts you’re not sure of, alone, That’s it.

Now pruning certainly is an important thing when it comes to the health of a rose bush. It isn’t just control over the outward look of your rosebush. It makes for healthier blooming. With a rosebush, the first couple of years are the most productive, as far as the roses are concerned. They become less and less productive each year, starting then. So if you want to really see the most flowers possible in the couple of years that you have, you really need to learn how to prune rose bushes well.

pruning rose bushes


The first thing you want to learn about pruning is when to do it. Rosebushes will only bloom in spring. What this means is that winter is the best time to get those pruning shears out. When your rosebushes are dormant and you haven’t even done your first fertilizer application, that’s when you need to put your pruning shears to work.

A word about those shears – it wouldn’t do to get ones with blunt or tacky edges. You need sharp, quality ones. A pair of handheld pruning shears should cost you about $50 if you go to the high-end of the market. They really are worth it – they’ll provide you with clean cuts and excellent control. I use a medium file to keep sharp on a periodic basis.

A clean cut it is important for the health of your bushes. They’ll heal over far more quickly this way. You don’t need to worry about pruning those bushes in their first year. They aren’t going to be spread out enough by then for you want to do this. The second year, you’ll probably need to do only a minimal amount of pruning, depending on how much the bushes grow. The third year onwards, you will really need to dig in.

In the most regular and unambitious pruning, you’ll only twigs and branches that appear diseased or dead. You will also look for extremely tangled branches and try to get things to some order with a bit of pruning.

Building Healthy Soil for Roses

If you’re looking for one place to start growing your roses, one place to get right that will help everything else just fall into place, you should probably look into the soil first. As hardy as these plants are, soil for roses can be very important. Get this step wrong, and you’ll find yourself putting fires out all over the place, try to compensate for everything that the soil is ruining for you.

So what exactly does good soil for roses look like? To begin with, it has to be somewhat firm and clayey but not too much so. The firm clayey quality will allow it to hold water and it will allow it to hold the rosebush with some steadiness. If it’s too clayey though, it’s going to hold too much water. And that’s not a good thing. Good soil for roses is all about balance – the soil has to be the right balance between clayeyness and looseness.

Soil that’s capable of moisture retention can perform a very important function when the weather gets dry in the summer and you can’t water your plants all the time. The right kind of soil will also able to hold enough nutrients over long periods of time.

So you know something now about how the texture of the soil should be. How about the color it should be? The right kind of soil mixture is usually a dark color. A dark, rich, clayey color. The best soil will allow for quick drainage. You should make sure that you never plant your roses in a spot that’s lower than the surrounding area. You don’t want any water collecting and puddling around your roses.

Usually, you won’t find soil like this ready-to-go in your garden. You’ll need to build the soil up a little bit with compost, horse manure, peat moss and leaf mold. Add enough nutrient-rich stuff like this to your soil, and it will quickly become exactly the right kind.

If you possibly could, you need to test how acidic or alkaline your soil is. The right pH value for soil for roses tends towards the slightly acidic. Plant your roses in alkaline soil – material that looks heavily clayey – and you’ll get diseased-looking leaves on your bushes. That’s easily fixed though. You just have to add a good quantity of peat moss to the soil.

You just need to worry about how the soil is to about a foot-and-a-half into the ground. You just need to dig a nice deep hole, throw in all the compost and soil-building material you can find, and plant your rose bushes. You can’t go wrong.

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