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Pruning rose bushes

Peter Asked

What is the best time to prune a rose bush in Western Kentucky? Relatively new the area, originally from South Louisiana below I-10.

Thanks in advance!

Peter E Tullier

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Peter: Welcome to Kentucky! I hope that you are enjoying your new home. Roses can be pruned during the growing season to remove dead, diseased, or crossing canes. Pruning to shape and rejuvenate should be done during the winter or early spring before they break dormancy and new growth begins. If you have inherited older neglected roses and they could benefit from a hard pruning, be careful not to prune too far back. The general rule is to remove no more than one-third the size of the shrub during each pruning session. Use a sharp, rust-free pair of pruners and choose a sunny winter day to complete this gardening task. Cuts should be flush to the nearest intersecting branch. Roses are heavy feeders and will benefit from a well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 each spring. Adding a 2–3-inch layer of mulch will provide winter protection and help with moisture retention during the warmer months. I hope this is helpful.

Angie Oakley

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