Rose bushes require a lot of constant care and "grooming" to make them grow abundantly but neatly. Every gardener knows that rose bushes have to be trimmed to achieve this perfect, well-tended look. Whether you've recently discovered a love for gardening or in tending rose bushes in particular, you cannot just grab a pair of gardening scissors and snip away happily at your rose bushes. You have to know how to trim them properly. Here's how you can do it.
- Plan a regular schedule for trimming. You need to have a designated time of the year to trim rose bushes. Determining this depends on the specific variety of rose and your location. Most rose bushes in the Western hemisphere are fit to be trimmed during the spring, after the final frost. This is also the usual time for rose buds to break. If you want to be more certain, you should observe the blooming time of your roses and their growing habits. However, this may take up to a year for you to get the data you need. If you want a faster way of knowing, you can consult an expert gardener or someone who works in a plant nursery about the growing habits of the specific variety of rose that you have.
- Wear appropriate clothing. You should always wear a pair of clean, heavy-duty gardening gloves. Breathable cotton long-sleeved shirts should make you comfortable enough while also helping protect you from rose thorn scratches and pricks.
- Prepare your trimming tools. Bring out a pair of good quality pruning shears and a pruning sealer. In gardening, it is important to use very sharp and sterile tools. The wood of rose bushes can be tough and if your cuts are not clean, this may damage the bush. Sharp tools and clean cuts are definitely a must. Infections and diseases are also rampant among plants so make sure to clean your tools before using them and in between rose bush trimming to prevent such infections and diseases from spreading.
- Cut at the correct angle. Position the shears to cut at a 45-degree angle, which is also ¼ of an inch on the top of a bud facing outwards. Make one thorough and clean cut. Doing so will encourage new growth to form on the outside of the branch. When you cut, make sure that the pithy tissue of the stem is healthy. You can do this by checking if the middle of the stem is white in color. If it isn't, you have to trim the rose bush down until you see the white color.
- Apply pruning sealant. After trimming, apply pruning sealant all around the cut you made. This is done to protect the cut part of the stem and ensure faster recovery.
- Remove everything that hinders new growth. Don't just trim blindly as you go. Look specifically for weak stems, dead wood, spent blooms, and diseased branches. Remove most of the past season's growth, and branches that crisscross with another branch. Trim all extra foliage. You also need to cut overgrown branches and those that stray from the original shape of the bush. Cut them back to the normal level of the other branches. Another thing to look out for are suckers that form on the base of the bush. They're not that important so you can simply do away with them by cutting them back to ground level.
- Check your work. As you trim, you also have to check whether you're doing it right. Check whether the center of the rose bush is able to receive lots of circulation and sunlight.
- Throw away trimmings. When you're done, make sure to throw away all cut pieces and trimmings to prevent diseases from thriving.
If you love and prize your rose bushes so much, keep them in shape and regularly "groom" them by trimming them at least once a year. Doing so will help keep your rose bushes healthy, encourage new growth, and give them that well-cared for look that will be the envy of all your neighbors.