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I Have A 8-year-old Yellow Climbing Rose That Has Become…

David Asked

I have a 8-year-old yellow climbing rose that has become too large and is very gangly in appearence. Can I prune it back and when? It is about 14 feet in height. How close to the ground can I cut it? I am hoping for it to grow back thicker/bushier than it currently is.

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, David: Annual pruning is beneficial in keeping your climbing rose rejuvenated and productive. If you have not pruned at all your rose will certainly appreciate it after eight years! In terms of the time of year that is best to prune, it depends on what kind of climbing rose you are growing. Does your rose bloom just once a year or does it continuously bloom throughout the season? Repeat bloomers should be pruned while they are dormant. This is during the winter and early spring months before the buds break or any new growth begins. The climbing roses that only bloom once per season should be pruned immediately after they have finished flowering. You can prune out any dead, weak, or diseased canes as soon as you notice them no matter what time of year. When it is time to prune use a clean, sharp pair of pruners. This will help prevent disease spread. With an established rose such as yours you want to prune back the laterals to the second or third bud. Make your cuts parallel and a quarter inch above the bud. The lateral shoots that grow from the horizontal framework is where the flowering takes place so keep this in mind when making your cuts. Remove any crossing or rubbing canes to improve air circulation and decrease disease problems. It is a good idea to remove some of the older, less productive canes and then take a step back. This makes it easier to see where your next cut should be. For now, keep the space around the rose free of fallen plant debris, which will also decrease potential disease and insect problems.

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