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Published: Tuesday, 9/17/2013


Prepping roses for next season

Climbing roses can create a beautiful wall of fragrant blossoms

Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder

Do you ramble? Maybe you climb? OK, so maybe you’ve given up that crazy lifestyle, but what about your roses? Climbing rambling roses can create a beautiful wall of fragrant blossoms into the late fall. And now is a good time to keep them in shape.


Grab the pruners


Ramblers pop blossoms in clusters in the summer. Their long stems are easy to wrap around a trellis, pergola or even a tree. After they show off this summer, you can prune them.


Rosa “Albertine”, “Wedding Day”, “Rambling Rector,” and “Emily Gray” will perform well if you prune them in the early fall.


Once winter rolls around, cut the oldest stems down to about 18 inches above the ground to encourage some of the younger branches to flourish in the spring.


Climbers are a bit more rigid and don’t like to obey, kind of like a stubborn spouse. But if you use some gentle coaxing, you can get them to do what you want.


As a climber travels up a strong trellis or pergola, keep the branches reaching out to the sides. This will help your plant produce more blossoms.


Climbers such as Rosa “Handel”, “New Dawn,” and “Altissimo” need to be pruned in the fall.


Now is the time to get this climber ready for winter. Always start with a hunt for any branches that are damaged or seem to be weak. Cut those all the way down to the base of the plant.


Now, go find some of the oldest branches. They will usually be heavy with blooms and be thicker and tougher than the younger ones. Cut these down to the ground too. This will make room for some of the younger branches that will put on more blooms next year.


Deadheading is next. Prune out any blooms that have started to fade and turn brown. Cut the entire branch down to about one third of its current size.


Take one last look and take out any branches left that cross over each other.


Naked branches


If your climbers and ramblers look a bit naked around the base, they just need a bit of attention. You need to take more drastic measures this winter.


After the plant has gone dormant, prune about one-third of the length of each of the oldest stems. Make your pruning cut at the closest nub for a future bloom. Once it wakes back up in the spring, the roots will be stimulated to create more blossoms.


Don’t forget to take pictures of your climbers and ramblers through each season.


Keep a record of their growth pattern and it will help you keep them in good shape as they show off their blooms in the summer.


Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 

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