Pruning is a confusing and intimidating task for the new rose grower. “The first time I pruned my roses I thought they would never grow back,” says Marylou Coffman, a Gilbert resident and American Rose Society judge.
Pruning season continues through February. Coffman, who began growing roses 25 years ago, says pruning doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor if you follow these basic rules:
STEP 1: Marylou Coffman begins pruning this rose bush by clearing out deadwood and leaves. Removing the leaves is essential because they can hide spider mites and mold spores.
STEP 2: Using pruning shears or loppers, remove dead or dying canes (or stems) that are growing into the center or interfering with healthier and younger canes. It’s important to keep the center of the bush open so the buds have a healthy growth path. These two canes were growing too close together, so Coffman cut them with loppers.
STEP 3: If you encounter cane borers, cut the cane until you find healthy flesh. Once you’ve cut them, seal the ends with glue to keep the cane borers out.
STEP 4: Once you think you’re finished, step back and look at the bush. Make any cuts or adjustments you feel necessary. Coffman usually leaves five to six canes on her bushes.
Rose garden at Mesa Community College
What: Get practical experience and advice for pruning roses. The MCC garden has 7,000 roses that need pruning, and the public is welcome to help.
When: 9 a.m. Feb. 24
Where: Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave.
Information: (480) 699-6562