Prune Roses For Fall Production

Patricia M. Arledge, Sharpe, Kenneth W.  |  11/5/2013 2:10:19 AM

News Article for August 27, 2013:

Late August to early September is time to perform a little rose maintenance. It is now that we can do some light pruning to get ready for the fall flush and blooming season.

The type of rose that usually requires fall attention most is the shrub rose. Shrub roses, also known as landscape roses, are a class of roses that have made it much easier for the novice to successfully grow roses. You may know shrub roses better by their names such as Knock Out or Home Run Roses.

Shrub roses are sold as a low maintenance rose that are easy to grow and have less insect and disease problems than the typical hybrid tea roses. They are also advertised as a rose that would get 4-5 feet tall by 4-5 feet wide.

I can only assume that Louisiana growing conditions were not in their initial trials. While the shrub roses are easier to grow and are more resistant to insect and diseases, they tend to get quite a bit bigger than originally thought. I have seen Knock Roses that were not pruned in excess of 8 feet tall. It is that great growing capacity of the shrub rose that makes this maintenance opportunity very important in keeping roses under control.

This time of year you just want to shape up your shrub roses .You can prune up to one-third of the plant growth off now if needed. Should you need to make more significant reductions in the plant size, wait until late January at which time you can reduce the plant size by up to two-thirds if needed to get it back into its allotted space.

Once you have finished pruning, add new mulch to the bed to control weeds and add a light application of fertilizer. Be sure it is light because excessive nitrogen this late in the growing season can promote lots of lush growth and make the plants vulnerable to cold damage.

Traditional tea style roses can also be pruned now if needed. Cut their canes back to 30- 36 inches from the ground. Climbing roses should not be pruned now as they bloom on summer growth of the previous season. Cut climbing roses back as soon as they finish blooming in late spring to early summer.

For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at

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