Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wake Up Roses - Spring is Here!

We had four big snows this Winter, each one a little smaller than the next, but still enough to incite a panic attack in me about the safety and comfort of my poor roses.

The first snow buried the roses completely. Just looking at these photos still makes my stomach turn.

stupid roses under many feet of snow

When I woke up the next morning, I freaked out, grabbed a shovel and spent two hours meticulously digging out their 6' branches.

stupid roses had to be dug out

After the first snow, I gave up on digging them out, mostly because I was exasperated by the awful Winter and didn't want to step foot into another drift of freezing coldness. Besides, if the first snow didn't kill them, successive snows probably wouldn't either. By the end of Winter, the weight of all that snow left their branches bowing in reverence to mother nature, begging her to lay off the white stuff!

Thankfully mother nature recently completed her stay in rehab, and the weather has warmed up very quickly! A couple weeks ago I decided to give the roses a liberal pruning to celebrate the arrival of warmer days. They were just starting to bud out, so the timing was perfect.

pruned back knockout roses

I cut them down to about 3'. I have to admit that I was very nervous about pruning the shrubs back this far and contemplated each cut a little longer than probably necessary. In the end they were a twiggy mess, but in just one week they have budded out nicely.

pruned back knockout roses

I tried to abide by the rule of pruning 1/4" above an outward facing bud to promote proper branching, but when you're making over a thousand cuts, it's sometimes not possible to find the perfect outward facing bud. Thankfully knockout roses are pretty forgiving.

I do need to invest in a better set of pruning shears though, as I couldn't open my hand for two days after the prune-stravaganza!



At 2:15 PM , Blogger Priscilla said...

Now why don't you prune them before the snow? I've never lived in snow but here in CA we prune in January.

At 2:06 PM , Blogger Tammy said...

When you prune, you stimulate growth, and you don't want new growth coming up before a snow.


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