When is the best time to trim back a rose bush? If it’s already started sprouting new growth, and you cut back farther, will it kill it or encourage more growth? Also, is now a good time to plant daylily bulbs?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Ellie: The best time to prune roses is late winter/early spring before new growth begins. Pruning while they are dormant will make them less susceptible to winter injury and other potential problems. Since your rose has already broken dormancy, pruning now is not the best option, especially if you are pruning to control the size. If your reason for pruning is to remove dead/diseased or crossing canes, go ahead and get your pruners out. Otherwise, if you can wait until next winter it would be in the best interest of your roses. As a general rule, it is best not to remove more than one-third of the size of the rose. Do this year after year to maintain the size you want. Use a clean, sharp, and rust-free pair of pruners. Make your cuts flush to the nearest intersecting branch so there are no stubs. As for your daylilies, you can go ahead and plant them now. These tuberous rooted perennials are wonderful bloomers and add vibrant color to the summer garden. They are very tolerable of most soil conditions, but prefer to be planted in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. You can add a scoopful of compost to your soil when you plant your daylilies. They will bloom best when planted in full sun to part shade. Since we have had quite a bit of rain in the past few days, make sure the soil is not sopping wet when you plant. If so, give it time to dry out and then plant, otherwise rotting could become an issue.