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Prune roses now for a lovely show in summer

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It has been a tough winter, but as the weather begins to warm up, it's time to start taking care of late winter tasks in your garden. Although it can be a thorny task, pruning your roses will help clear out dead and overcrowded branches and encourage new healthy growth.

I have often been told that roses should be pruned in the Charlotte area around Martin Luther King day. However, as weather can change from year to year, I like to look for the following:

  • Small buds forming on the branches. The early forming buds not only reinforce which branches are healthier, but it also provides a guide as to where on the branch I should cut. In the attached video, the rose expert explains that you should cut above the new growth, but not so far above that the growth above the bud dies back.
  • Unusual frosts (such as we had this year) have passed. Although we will probably have plenty of winter days ahead, we are hopefully past nights in the single digits.

Once the conditions above are met, I wait until the weather has been dry for a couple of days and is expected to be dry for another day. This may be entirely a matter of preference. Roses are susceptible to fungus and rotting stems, so I prefer to cut dry stems and to allow the cut ends to dry before the next big rain.

Enjoy the attached video on how to prune your roses.

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