Pruning in Autumn (the fall-pruning of roses)

Pruning Climbers

If your trellis is covered with blooms, leave them alone; the view is gorgeous, and it may be the last flush of color you’ll see this season. Otherwise, go cane by cane, trimming them back to the part of the cane that is as thick as a pencil. If your climber is well-established, it may have very thick canes, hence, only the very newest growth will need to be trimmed. If your climber is a new plant, it is possible that none of your canes are as thick as a pencil yet, except perhaps down at the base. Leave these new climbers alone until they are at least a foot high and a foot wide.

Also, if you have a climber that is not producing very many blooms, but has excellent-sized canes, it may need a little extra pruning to produce next year. For big climbers with few blooms, cut the entire plant back two-thirds, leaving it one-third of its original size, even if the canes are thick. Of course, if you have a very long climber with very thin canes, and this is not specific to it’s species, then something is wrong. Lack of sun and food may be the problem, but it most likely just needs a good pruning.

Scraggly Climbers

Before you label your climber as scraggly, be sure it’s not supposed to have thin canes. Just google in the name of your climber, and do a little research. Most healthy, established climbers have canes as thick as a pencil somewhere on the plant.

If you have a very leggy climber with almost no blooms, go to the base of the plant, and see how many canes it has. If it has more than three, chances are that the plant’s energy is being diverted into too many places. Trim back the least productive ones, or the thinnest ones, even if they are rambling all over your roof. Just clip them at the base, leaving the three thickest and leafiest ones. Of course, if your scraggly climber is blooming, leave the three canes with the most blooms.

Leggy, yet productive

If your scraggly looking climber is covered with blooms, two things could be at work here…it is possible that you have a variety of rose that is meant to have thin canes—it is just unique to its species. If your climber is producing good blooms, that are attractive and reasonably sized, and if these blooms don’t have too much space between them, then I would just leave them alone. If you suspect that the blooms should be bigger, and you feel like it, then go ahead and prune off a cane or two; it won’t hurt. Whether your blooms are at their normal size or not, you should get bigger blooms by doing this. If you are satisfied with the size of your blooms, but there is too much green space between them (much more vine than roses), then go ahead and trim your climber to a bush shape, or at least trim it back to one third of it’s size. If you have an awful lot of green space between your flowers, than I would definitely “start fresh” and trim the whole thing back to the size of a bush. Let it grow back slowly, trimming it whenever it began to look even a little bit leggy. Once it begins to bush out, you can trim back all but three of the canes (the thickest one), and feed often.

Published in: on September 11, 2007 at 6:08 am  Leave a Comment  

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