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Timely tending: Roses ready for major pruning

Roses should be pruned this month to remove damaged canes and improve the overall form. For this major yearly pruning you should shorten the main canes and lateral branches to an outward-facing bud, and then remove small twigs and canes that are dead, diseased, injured or spindly. Your objective is to regulate height and improve air circulation and light distribution within the plant. This will help with disease control. Leave about half the length of each main cane that is 1 to 3 years old. Remove any dead leaves and debris around the plant to reduce fungal spores and add a new layer of mulch. Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer formulated for roses. You should see new flowers in about eight to nine weeks.

Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at and

Timely tending: Roses ready for major pruning 03/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 5, 2011 3:30am]
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