General Question

DaphneT's avatar

Can I safely remove dead canes from a flowering rose bush?

Asked by DaphneT (5728points) June 18th, 2014

Our roses were hit hard with snow and ice this past winter, so many of the canes are dead, with only the rosehips remaining. Are these canes removable with little trauma to the bush?

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10 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

If you wear the proper protective apparel, don’t work from a ladder, have a companion in sight at all times to call for help if necessary, and don’t upset the bees, then you should be okay, I think.

“Dead” vegetal matter can be removed at any time. It’s pruning of live growth that has to be managed at the proper time in the growing cycle. In fact, “dead” material should be cut off as soon as it is identified, to avoid insect infestation, rot and unnecessary stress to the plant.

gailcalled's avatar

Yes. Lop away with impunity,

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Trim dead material away. Use Elmer’s Glue to seal the opening on the canes.

You should deadhead all the old blooms before they turn to rose hips.

gailcalled's avatar

@Tropical_Willie: Why get rid of the rose hips? They are attractive in the fall. I always leave mine on the bushes, but I am a nonchalant gardener and have never bothered either with Elmer’s Glue to seal the cut marks on the canes.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@gailcalled The rose will stop producing flowers if you leave the hips on. I’m a “deadheader” at my city’s rose garden, we remove all the old blooms once every 7 – 10 days. Hips in the fall are okay, but we cut back ⅔rds of the canes in the winter. Open canes are vectors for disease to get into the bush and roots, we use Elmer’s to seal. Our city garden is used two or three time a month in the summer for weddings and parties. It is also one of the largest city operated rose gardens on the East coast.

gailcalled's avatar

@Tropical_Willie: Ooh. Pictures. I am mad about rose gardens. The one in Berkeley, CA. is a paradise…sorted by color.

As I said, I am pretty casual…I did have my landscaper do some serious pruning in the early spring. And I try to dead-head. But I do not grow hybrid-teas or even David Austins (zone 5 is too warm) due to being in zone 4b.

I have only tough old warhorses…the Fairy, several wonderful rugosas (Blanc Double de Coubert), Thérese de Bugnet, some Double Knock-outs (fenced because of the deer) and some old wild roses I hauled down from the shores of Lake Placid, that I spotted from a canoe, way past the road access. I see that the deer have discovered it and have eaten all but one of the buds off. (Bugger. That means another metal cage).

All bets are off by July 1, when the Japanese beetles arrive; since I won’t spray, they get to co-habit with the roses for the rest of the summer.

(Peonies are so much easier. And they smell better).

The rose gardens at Duke U. were also phenomenal.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@gailcalled Here’s the Web page. 1200 rose bushes and a great place to visit.

gailcalled's avatar

@Tropical_Willie: It looks spectacular ( but real estate seems very expensive).

DaphneT's avatar

Thanks, everyone, for the info. That probably explains why the roses have so few blooms. Then I’ll plan to do it while my sister’s gone so I don’t have to listen to her “logic” for why it hasn’t been done yet. I hope I get everything done that I want to while she’s gone.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@gailcalled I understood it was the old city dump from years ago, covered over and re-purposed. The city was agricultural centered; tobacco, cotton, corn, sweet potatoes and sorghum. They are still proud of agriculture including the rose garden and the botanical garden large children’s area.

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