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Pruning Roses

04/23/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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AP/Dean Fosdick

I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. Roses can be viewed as the most desirable flower or just a pain to grow. It depends on your attitude. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses." One of the challenges of roses is pruning and now is the time to do it. In spring it's easy to see any blackened, winter injured canes and live buds. Proper pruning invigorates the bush creating more flowers, but less disease.

 Landscape, shrub, and species roses need only minimal pruning. Remove dead, broken or crossing canes, thin, spindly canes coming from the base of the bush, and 1/3rd of the older canes. For hybrid roses you'll do all of that and more, cutting back the height of all hybrid tea and floribunda canes by a third of their height. To encourage less disease, make cuts at a 45 degree angle, 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud. For the beginner rose grower, try the rosa rugosa or the new Knockout roses. These are very forgiving roses that bloom almost in spite of the gardener.

For this week's garden tip, deter moles in your lawn by spraying castor oil. Moles hate the smell of it,  will get agitated, and leave after a few days. Castor oil is safe for animals, wildlife, and people. Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about dividing perennials. For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!



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More from Charlie on VPR Our Rose Garden Roses - How Much and When To Prune Plant Identification Guide
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