We have been enjoying warmer days after a week of cooler more Fall like weather.
It has been about or near 80 daily for a few days and I am trying to take every chance I can to get outside and accomplish some of the garden clean up chores before winter hits.
I live in Zone 8 in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and do a rose pruning before real cold weather hits in late Fall. Traditional garden advice is to not do this kind of pruning until late winter, early Spring but that does not work for me as we can be buried in deep snow until the first of June. Once these plants are dormant you can prune them.
Some say that pruning now will spur the plant to put on new growth and then the new growth will suffer during freezes. That is not entirely accurate, it is not only pruning but also soil temperature and day length that encourage new growth so if your rose is truly dormant then it will not put on new growth until all conditions are right.
Late Fall pruning also helps keep my roses from getting broken and damaged by heavy snows.
I have been practicing pruning in late Fall for about 10 years and my roses flourish. Late Fall is around early to mid November.
Why am I telling you this?
Because sometimes what is traditionally done in the garden world is not always what is best in your region. Sometimes you have to experiment. Gardening advice is not a one size fits all scenario so don’t be afraid to break away from what the “experts” tell you and find what works best for you in your environment.
Today I focused on this mess…
The climbing roses along the side of my house have gotten out of control. The one I am going to focus on today is the one to the left in the photo. It is a Zepherine Drouhin and it blooms so gorgeously as you can see in the very top photo. It is nearly thorn-less making it so easy to work with.
Pruning climbing roses is different than Hybrid Teas or other bush types. You can prune on them all year long to keep them in check and blooming.
As you can see I have the main cane growing up the porch pillar and starting across the eave of the house now and I want to keep that main cane in tact. So I follow it down to find which cane is the main cane at the base of the rose.
So that all the energy goes to this main cane I take out all the others. Yep, just be brutal and cut them all out. Cutting most of the older canes out forces the plant to put out new canes from the root (own root roses) thus refreshing the plant for maximum performance.
(You can also leave a couple others and just trim them back in increments of 3 feet, aka, cut one back to 3 feet, the other and 6 feet)
I do leave the small lateral cane coming out of the main cane. That will provide some blooms along the lower portion of the plant. The main cane may only bloom up higher next Spring and this lateral and any others along here will fill in below. You can cut the laterals back to about 6 inches or so and they will be just fine.
Now lets go on up the main cane…
As we follow the main cane up we note that a lateral cane is actually the longer one tied to the post to the eave so we cut off the rest of the main cane and now that makes the lateral from here on out the main cane. I made a cut just after the Y so that the cane going to the left is now gone and the cane with the arrow pointing at it is now the main cane.
Though it is looking rather bare it will more than fill in next Spring, see all those little eyes along the cane, those can sprout into laterals which will produce flowers, lots and lots of beautiful blooms.
Lets go on up…
Up a bit further the main cane has another lateral cane that I leave. I train both of them along the eave and attach them to hooks that are screwed into the wood of the eave. I will strip off all the leaves so it will be just a bare cane, that prevents some some fungus or other issues that can occur.
And that is basically how I prune my climbing roses to keep them neat and tidy. In the Spring I will have to do some more pruning to keep it looking neat as some of the laterals can grow 6 feet in no time.
Next Spring I look forward to bowers of pink roses climbing my porch posts…
More on pruning climbing roses