As the universal symbol of love and beauty, the rose enjoys widespread popularity. But what most rose lovers don’t know is how crucial it is to the survival of their beloved blooms that you not only prune them, but also prune them correctly. Here are the 10 biggest mistakes people make when pruning roses.
1. You cut too much off. Do not prune more than half the plant’s original height. Ideal pruning is between 1/3 and 1/2 of the height.
2. You left too much in the center. The goal to pruning is an open, centered plant. Pay attention to stems or canes that crisscross, as well as any weak canes growing towards the center.
3. You cut too early. Roses are a delicate flower. You must wait until after the very last frost for pruning.
4. You didn't cut with the right tool. Use curved gardening shears for standard pruning, a pruning saw for large canes and lopping shears with long handles for extra thick canes.
5. You didn't make angled cuts. The goal should be to slope the cut away from the leaves, and just above the bud.
6. You cut healthy tissue. It can be tricky to know what to cut and what to leave. Cut the cane until you notice the center pith is creamy white. This is healthy tissue, and the cane will be green.
7. You fertilize too soon after pruning. Avoid fertilizing your roses for about three weeks after pruning.
8. You skip over the weak, energy-sapping stems. Cut out any stem thinner than a pencil. These stems will not be productive, yet they will still sap energy and nutrients from the rest of the plant.
9. You leave behind “bad” leaves. Remove every leaf from the newly pruned bush, as diseases and insects tend to carry over in old leaves. Then clean all leaves and debris away from the base of the plant.
10. You aren't even pruning. Pruning roses encourages new (and bigger) blooms, overall healthy growth and increased resistance to disease and other common plant problems. If you are not pruning, get on it!