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Pruning Climbing Roses

Question:

I planted two climbing roses last summer, and not sure if I should cut them back, and if so when? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Answer:

Climbing roses are a great way to accent your garden. To keep them in tip-top shape I prune my climbing roses once a year. This helps stimulate lots of new growth, which makes them produce larger flowers and a lot more of them. Plus, a good pruning helps them to keep their shape.

In most regions of the country mid to late February is the ideal time to shape up your plants, even if you live in a mild area where roses never go dormant. If you live in a cold climate, pruning should be done when you remove winter protection and the danger of a hard freeze has passed, which may be as late as April in very cold zones. Once blooming roses should not be pruned until after they flower.

To prune a climbing rose all you'll need is a good pair of sharp pruners and some gloves.

When I prune, I always take out all dead and diseased wood, then I take out any stems that are smaller than the diameter of a pencil. When I make each cut, I try to make them as clean as possible and about a quarter of an inch above a bud. It's important to know that the position of the bud on the stem is the direction the new growth will head once it's starts growing, so I always try to cut just above a bud that's going to grow up and over the arbor.