Gardeners across North Central Texas have been devastated by the loss of our favorite rose varieties to the Rose Rosette disease. The past few years have seen the removal of many tried and true rose bushes that have been killed by Rose Rosette. We have heard many colleagues declare that they will never plant another rose bush again. Let us remind you that there is risk involved in gardening – whether it be from extreme weather changes, drought or an invasive disease. As your plan ahead, do not rule out roses in your garden. Refer to this PDF information sheet for recommended EarthKind roses:
Additional information is available on Rose Rosette under the Pest Section of ROCKMGA.
For those of us who have roses that are surviving, mid February is the time to prune our shrub roses. We use pruning to keep roses at manageable sizes. We also use pruning to eliminate weak and damaged branches and to direct the growth of the plants.
Bush Roses whatever their types (Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras, even Miniatures) are pruned by half early each February. Each cut should be made directly above a bud that faces out from the center of the plant. This will encourage more open, spreading growth. This pruning stimulates new growth and best spring flower production. You will want to do a similar thinning and reshaping in early August as you prune the plants back by one-third, to encourage a round of blooms in September and October.
Climbing Roses produce their flower buds on canes that grew the prior year, so don’t prune them until after their big spring bloom has finished. At that point, remove weak canes that won’t contribute to the plant’s long-term beauty. Remove canes that extend out from their supports. It would be difficult to pull them back into shape. As the growing season progresses, remove unwanted canes as they appear.