Now is the time to examine shrub roses and uncover tea, floribunda and grandiflora roses as temperatures rise above 40 degrees. This keeps fungal diseases from getting a head start.
For shrub roses, look for winter-killed canes or rabbit damage.
First, ask yourself if the rose needs to be pruned. If there is no damage, and you like the size and shape, step back and enjoy!
If you decide to prune, trim all canes that are dead, diseased or damaged. Use sharp, clean prunes and clean with alcohol between plants to limit the spread of disease.
Look for fat, red, pointed buds along the living canes. Notice which direction the buds are headed when you cut back a stem. In general, we prefer outward-facing buds so that as new twigs grow, they do not head back into the center of the plant.
You might want to thin out a rose bush for better air circulation if it has suffered from fungal problems in the past.
For one-time blooming roses, such as some antiques, do not prune drastically in the spring, because you will cut off flower buds that dwell on the previous year’s growth.
Garden Tip is courtesy of Heather Prince, The Growing Place, 630-355-4000, www.thegrowingplace.com.