Readying Roses for Spring

April is a great time to prune roses. Start by removing the dead and diseased canes. Since this was a severe winter, there may be a lot of winter damage on roses. All the more reason to prune out the dead stems to stimulate strong growth.

Cut rose bushes down about 50% — this will invigorate and instill new growth this season.

Cut down to where the green part of the stem is showing. Cuts should be made just above the bud eye or where branching will occur. On dormant rose canes, this bud eye is located on the outward facing bud. If you are unsure of where to prune, wait till the rose starts to grow and this bud swells to indicate the area to be pruned.

Cut off the dead stems on roses to reveal green growth beneath.

To regenerate roses in spring, make a slanted cut above the outward facing bud–new growth will emerge as soon as the weather warms up.

Good fertilization is key to healthy blooming roses — start by raking away some of the soil at the base of each rose. Apply a slow release fertilizer such as Rose Tone (follow the amount suggested on the bag) along with a handful of green sand gently working into the base of each rose. Green sand provides trace minerals that are beneficial to the health of the rose. Top dress with 3-4 generous handfuls of garden compost.

Avoid mulching for a few weeks to allow the rose to take up the beneficial amendments.

Amend around the base with Rose Tone and greensand. Top dress with about 2” of good compost.

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