When should I prune my roses in the Pacific Northwest?
Pruning roses provides the plant a better shape while it also encourages fresh growth and larger-sized flowers. Pruning is essential to remove dead, dying, and diseased material.
If you wish to prune repeat-flowering roses – inclusive of hybrid teas and floribunda roses – in the Pacific Northwest it’s best to do so towards the end of February. Either that or because Forsythia is so popular here look for it coming into bloom. When Forsythia shrubs begin to bloom, that’s the time to prune your hybrid teas and floribundas.
Still on hybrid teas and floribundas – remove any dead or diseased wood. Remove canes that are weak or crossing over one another.
Cut just above outward-facing buds. We do this because it promotes growth to the plant’s exterior and away from the plant’s interior. A crowded interior encourages disease and discourages blooms.
All remaining canes should be cut to a length of 12-18 inches above ground level.
If you have old garden roses and shrub roses in your garden there’s little pruning or perhaps even no pruning required. The only thing you’ll want to do with these roses is to deadhead and occasionally prune out older stems from the center of the bush. This helps to open up the bush.
When to Prune Climbing Roses in Pacific Northwest
Climbing roses are something of a different proposition in terms of pruning.
First, you don’t want to prune your climbing roses over the first two to three years. This allows climbers to form lengthy, arching canes. After that, you can train the canes to a trellis or to a wall.
You may want to prune out any dead or dying canes on your climbing roses within the first couple of years or so, but do keep that pruning to a minimum.
Only prune your single blooming climbing roses once they have finished blooming. Single blooming climbing roses bloom on old wood. That said, if you were to do a springtime pruning most of the current season’s blooms would be pruned out.
On single blooming climbers remove anything up to a quarter of the old wood once the roses have finished flowering.
For repeat flowering, climbing roses prune them back in late winter or in early springtime. Otherwise, the same rule (up to one-quarter of the old wood can be pruned out) applies as it does to single blooming climbers.
Some people will encourage you to seal the pruned wood on roses. Personally, I never do. But if you wish to seal the pruned canes Elmer’s White glue is a good choice. This glue deters cane-boring insects.
If you’ve ever tried to prune climbing roses you’ll more than likely have learned (the hard way) that normal hand pruners are not entirely up to the job. So it’s best to grab a pair of long-handled pruners. The long handles will help to cut down on thorn damage to your hands and will also give you more leverage which is vital for those thicker canes. Plus, you get more reach.