nippstress

Is this cane dead? A visual guide for cold zone spring pruning

HI folks
There are some fantastic videos out there about rose pruning, notably some by Paul Zimmerman, but it's a general tutorial about pruning out dead wood and deciding how to get that nice vase shape. People in warm zones often talk about pruning to shape the rose, particularly for balance and symmetry. Here in zone 5, the only shape I want from my roses in spring is alive. I'm totally inclined to leave lopsided branches, gangly canes, and drooping octopus arms simply to get a decent bloom in the first June flush. I'm so happy to have any surviving cane most years that I'm going for maximum live cane, and then I'll prune for better shape after the June flush.

But that leaves the question of recognizing what a live cane looks like. The rule of thumb is that you want green outsides of the cane and creamy to white insides of the cane, but I've discovered there are a lot of variations in cane color and consistency that complicate things. Some rose canes that look dead in mysterious colors like red or brown or grey are actually alive, and some canes that look green on the outside or have leaves sprouting from them are dead inside and might as well be pruned off now. The decision about live canes goes in two steps: a) is this cane alive now, and b) is it going to stay alive for the season. I try to prune off both types of canes in the spring pruning, but it always takes more than one pass separated by a few weeks to make decision b).

So let's start with the easy reads - canes that are solidly black to red-black are dead, unless you have a rose that naturally grows black canes like some seedlings Kim showed on the Antique thread. When you see a cane like this, prune down to the nearest green cane, growing point on a green to reddish brown cane, or down to the base of the rose if necessary. Here on Isabel de Ortiz, I pruned off the obviously black cane down to the growing point you can see halfway down the small green part. I could have stopped where the green starts, but you try to avoid leaving tag ends of canes above the growing points as they'll just die off anyway:

Here's what she looks like after pruning. Don't get scared about taking this much off a rose - this 1 inch stub is enough surviving cane for me to get excited, and roses can regrow fine in an own root rose even pruned all the way to the ground, or grafted roses pruned all the way to the graft (or ground because in cold zones you really want to bury the graft).
In larger old canes, you can sometimes have a mix of green and black-brown canes, but if the black covers a substantial portion of the cane it's unlikely to survive long and I prune it back to healthy cane. No sense making the rose work too hard to support a dying cane that's on its way out, when I want its energies into making new canes that support blooming. Here's Hypnotized with most of the canes dead or on their way out:

And here's where I pruned it down, with my hand to show the size of the remaining cane. Again, this much cane is fine and even this much isn't necessary, it's just nice to give the rose a running start into the June flush. You'll notice that the red-brown cane furthest to the left in the first picture was attached to a perfectly fine cane behind it, as you can tell by the creamy-tan cane left after pruning near my hand.

Even though this rose has some green cane below the reddish cane that's damaged from the winter, I don't leave chewed canes like this to cause the rose problem. That means pruning off below the chew marks on the right hand canes, and below the dark red canes at the top right, since there's a clear difference between happy cane (green) and unhappy cane above the snow line (dark red-brown):

Dry brown canes are also a no-brainer to prune off, since they can often snap in your fingers, and they don't have anything live on them. If your pruners go "squish" rather than "snip" when you prune, that's another good reason to try pruning a little lower on the cane, as the "squish" cane is usually either dry or mealy or otherwise damaged. Here's some obviously dry brown cane in the top center of this cane that needs to be pruned down to the little red growing point at the base of that cane.I also pruned off the dark brown cane to the far right lower part of the photo, but left the reddish toned canes at the center as I'll explain below:

I'm gradually discovering that not all red canes are dead ones, even if it's not a natural color for the canes of that rose. Sometimes the canes seem to get sunburned over the winter, but they leaf out well and have creamy centers. I used to prune these all off anyway because they looked, well, dangerous, but I've discovered that some of them will survive at least long enough to bloom. It doesn't hurt the rose to prune them off, so if you're not sure it's always an option to prune below the red cane, but I've experimented with leaving red canes and about half of them survive fine. Of course that means half of them don't, which is one of many reasons you need several pruning passes to take off cane that's in category b) that isn't going to stay alive. Here's Anne Henderson with some red canes that I'm going to leave alone for the time being, except for the blackish bit of cane behind the center of the picture. You can see leaves sprouting from the red bits and when I prune off a sample cane, it's perfectly creamy inside:

However, red or splotchty canes that have a yellowish background like in the cane to the right of this picture are not going to stay alive for long and need to go:

Sometimes canes can fool you and look OK but be dead or dying inside. For instance, I'd pruned off some obviously dead cane before this photo and was checking out the remaining cane on the center branch. I wasn't particularly happy with the dark spot in the middle of this cane and the generally mealy look of the cane rather than solid wood. However, the outside of the cane was green from here down:

Good thing I didn't trust this cane and cut another notch down on this rose, even though it meant pruning off the green branch at the right of the picture that has some growing points on it. As you can see, pruning down to the next branch showed the nasty dying black center of the cane that isn't going to survive long, so it's best to get rid of it now. I ended up pruning this one to the ground, even though it initially looked like there was plenty of green cane left. I find it less heartbreaking to prune off these doomed canes now than to wonder what happened to all that lovely previously green cane in a few weeks:

I've used up my allotted pictures so I'll finish this in another window

Cynthia

Comments (52)

  • Jasminerose, California, USDA 9b/Sunset 18
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Wow, Cynthia. You explained that so well. What a lot of work you put into this post. Thank you. I found it very interesting and will bookmark this page in case I ever move to a cold zone. The Princess Bride reference made me laugh. You must have to reassure yourself with that quote every time you prune a cane to the ground.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Jasminerose, California, USDA 9b/Sunset 18
  • AnneCecilia z5 MI
    4 years ago

    Excellent job at explaining what to do in spring for cold zone growers! You covered all the bases and did so clearly and charmingly (I loved the Miracle Max reference, too!)

    Anne


    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked AnneCecilia z5 MI
  • Related Discussions

    Need Help: Add Curb Appeal, Refresh the Front Yard

    Q

    Comments (42)
    Remove the existing front porch and brick wall. Either extend it out about 12 ft with wood or masonary finish at same level and keep to the left of the front door. Build a pergola over the new porch and also add a small pergola over the garage door to make it more pleasing to look at. ON the left side by the window I would plant a small tree, some flowering plants so they can be enjoyed from the inside as well. This way it will balance out the large tree to the right. If you have a window like that use it for a great view, but don't block it with tree. Place tree to right side and find something that will eventually just allow the lower branches to fall softly into the window view from inside. Remove the hand rail on stairway if possible. If you need one I would go for wood and paint it white. Great front yard with all those stones for succulents and decorative grasses! Low maintenance and water needs. One note on stairway, I would take it out and create a path that move down in a curve through rocks so guests can come up slowly and enjoy the plantings! It won't stand out like a stairway. Plant decorative grasses sporadically along the path. Choose ones that stay under 3 ft in height and are not very wide. If you prefer wider ones keep them to the side of the property. Some of the plants like already in the rocks can stay, but just need to be cleaned up by removing dead foliage. I would remove the plants to the left of the house entirely and focus on some plants to surround the raised porch. Plants like stonecrop sedum crows beautiful over rocks, as does ice plants that have flowers for some color. Add some gravel amongst the rocks and install some hen & chicks, or other colorful low growing succulents. I love lavender and if you like it is available in white as well. I attached a beautiful xeriscape yard for you. Check this link: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=beautiful+desert+rock+gardens&start=106&hl=en&sa=X&biw=1024&bih=667&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=vigQoocaAlkqyM:&imgrefurl=http://www.bbg.org/discover/gardens/rock_garden&docid=xbJtKq3mf6l71M&imgurl=http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2747/4445338417_5ea6ca69ec_z.jpg&w=640&h=541&ei=hLxTUIjWAYPo9ATno4G4DQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=548&vpy=43&dur=1753&hovh=206&hovw=244&tx=148&ty=145&sig=101625327105867153332&page=7&tbnh=137&tbnw=183&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:106,i:74
    ...See More

    What to put in these planters?

    Q

    Comments (21)
    I like kaveac idea and I live in Toronto. Hostas are perfect height for your planters and they survive practically in any conditions (even in dead dry soil, but grow slow). I have them also in planters, they survive winter. Some leafs can burn though if there too much midday sun, other than that you shouldn't have any troubles with them. There huge variety and you can create a "persian rug" mixing them. As on the ground level you have mixed variety of perennials (usually short lasting bloom) my choice would be medium height annual flowers, they have long lasting bloom and color scheme could be changed every year, more work though. Whatever you chose to plant hostas or annuals go monocolor or close to it (orange-yellow, blue-purple) to make a statement. Rocks are small and next year, perhaps, they will be lost between plants. I would suggest "freestyle" groupping under the tree (far left hand side) and plant some ground creeping plant in front of them. Evergreens for me is a must have, as house looks bare in winter, and I believe on other side you have them. It would look more interesting if not lined up, unless they should cover something. Just a thought, if plants are young better to re-plant them groupping 5 arched (tip toward house's right corner); 3- triangle could be in flower bed where one stone now. General idea --groupping and planting here and there, avoiding formal look. Good luck.
    ...See More

    Somebody please help - tree death messing up my whole plan!!

    Q

    Comments (58)
    So, kind friends, my landscape-architect friend is coming for Labor Day, but I'm still brainstorming, so what do you think of this? (1) yes replace CLFence w/ white lattice and nice trellis entry, but mainly (2) move big planter with statue to side under mulberry, balancing the Mahonia on the right (toughest plant they cd sell me at my request), and make rustic stepping-stone pathway up to very top near fence, then pave that little area and put bench or 2 ice-cream-parlor-sized chairs and table? Balance in front of right hand side Mahonia by cutting maple down to graduating heights from path, with plants on top of each trunk, or maybe plants on two and interesting topiary frame currently on top of too-tall trunk; (3) stick 3 potted plants, maybe all in one planter (have silver one on hand decorated with green leaves & little red berries) on top of grill for when not in use (usually!). (4) Consider same white lattice fence ()slightly higher than current) to replace current natural lattice fence in back of new furniture OR replace natural lattice with garden wall in interesting color such as I've been seeing on this site, maybe with short lattice strip across top. (5) I'll go out this weekend and get a patio table umbrella to see if it helps. If not, I expect I'll be stuck paying at least $5K for a pergola. I plan to be in this house for the duration, but for the sake of resale value, I wonder wd it be worthwhile to design pergola so that it's basically just the underpinnings of a roof, in case the next owner wants to cover it. Comments, anyone?
    ...See More

    I'm stuck! Please help me finish my patio!!

    Q

    Comments (226)
    Another question about my flowers. I have coreopsis planted throughout my landscaping. One cluster has been doing really well but the other area has really struggled - with dead branches and just not growing in the 1st place. I think shadows from my large pots may have been a factor. My question is - are they dead or is it likely that they will come back next spring? Should I just cut them back or dig up? 1st 3 pics are the 3 plants that are struggling & 4th pic are the 3 healthy ones (unfortunately the rain just did a number on some of the flowers). Also - should I cut back the dead flowers in order to have grow again or leave alone? I've already cut back some of the dead flowers earlier this summer. I obviously want to have the flowers continue to bloom into the fall.
    ...See More
  • Dingo2001 - Z5 Chicagoland
    4 years ago

    Cynthia thank you so much for posting this!! Very very helpful!

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Dingo2001 - Z5 Chicagoland
  • arlene_82 (zone 6 OH)
    4 years ago

    Great reference, especially for us rose newbies. Thanks for putting the time and effort into posting this.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked arlene_82 (zone 6 OH)
  • view1ny NY 6-7
    4 years ago

    cynthia, thanks so much!

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked view1ny NY 6-7
  • Rose Whisperer
    4 years ago

    Good series of posts. Thank-you for taking the time.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Rose Whisperer
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Glad this was helpful, and even potentially new for GW! It was actually kind of interesting to put together, since we had a very early pruning season this year. I kept an eye on things that might be different signs of problems or not, and kept my camera around in case something turned up.

    I'm sure there are more problems I've missed, but at least it's good to hear that this covers the bases and seems straightforward enough. You shouldn't have to move to a cold zone Jasmine (smile), but for the rest of us that face winter damage every year it's hopefully useful.

    Cynthia

  • Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
    4 years ago

    This is so incredibly helpful, thanks! I've been so frustrated with pruning advice and videos that say things like "make the cut at this angle", "prune the dead canes", "prune to leave this many canes", but never tell you or show you the variety of colors that indicate dead or dying.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
  • mad_gallica
    4 years ago

    Remember, this only applies to HTs and other moderns whose normal cane color is green. If you grow roses whose canes age to red, brown or black, all bets are off.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked mad_gallica
  • zack_lau z6 CT ARS Consulting Rosarian
    4 years ago

    How about using those green but doomed canes for cuttings? Assuming of course that the rose is out of patent. I was thinking of taking them at the end of winter next year before they start budding, and storing them in the refrigerator to give away at the rose club.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked zack_lau z6 CT ARS Consulting Rosarian
  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
    4 years ago

    Also, the pith of a live red, brown, or black cane is white Rose Beginner, so remember that.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Glad to be helpful, Rose Beginner! I agree that the written instructions are confusing without pictures to back them up. I never find the conventional advice to "prune to an outward facing bud at a 45 degree angle" to be either useful or necessary. I've seen other research that it's fine to prune straight across, just don't leave too long of a cane stub above the growing point or it'll just die back to that growing point anyway. As for exactly how many canes to leave, that's dependent on the type of rose and your purpose for pruning. My primary purpose is to cut out dead or dying canes and leave as much to grow as possible, and do shaping (pruning to open up the rose for better shape or bloom) at a later time. If you have to prune to the ground or nearly there, the second type of pruning may not be necessary at all.

    Hmm, Zack - I can see keeping discarded canes of viable but unnecessary growth for cuttings later if you're doing a shaping pruning, but I don't think doomed canes with canker already on them are good candidates for cuttings. I don't think I'd want a cutting that has a short lifespan built into it, since it may not get to a viable size before it dies. By all means though, if you're good at hanging onto cuttings sharing them is a terrific idea. I'm not yet good at getting cuttings to grow well, but I'm still learning.

    And yes indeed MG, there are a lot of different colors of main canes that don't fit these categories and are perfectly fine. Even in moderns, you can get bark-covered brown canes that are just old wood and fine. I use the technique Sheila describes to cut a short way into the cane to make sure it looks fine inside if I'm not sure what a mature cane should look like in a particular variety. It would be great if folks could post some naturally non-green cane for comparison since I don't find many in my yard. Even most of my hybrid musk, hybrid perpetuals, and even teas seem to fit these patterns pretty closely. I figure I'm just starting the conversation and others can chime in with additional exceptions to the "green cane is good" rule of thumb, since even that has a lot of exceptions where green cane isn't actually good after all.

    Cynthia

  • Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
    4 years ago

    I've been surprised so far about pruning back. Last year was my first year with roses, and the Julia Child, planted in fall of 2014, died to the ground (scaring me till I learned it was still ok). This year, a much milder winter in MA, left a fair number of living canes on the JC and my knockouts. But among the roses I planted last spring, the David Austin is the only one that kept a good number of canes. The All American Beauties mostly died down, but a couple of canes survived on one. The Cinco de Mayos, which were the most prolific and least troublesome during the year, died to the ground, as did the Hot Cocoa, which has yet to show signs of life.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
  • erin sos (5b/6a) Central/West. Mass
    4 years ago

    Really, really helpful Cynthia, thank you!

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked erin sos (5b/6a) Central/West. Mass
  • mad_gallica
    4 years ago

    I'll try to get out and take some pictures. By far the best way I have of determining which canes are good is patience, grasshopper. If it leafs out well, it is a good canes, regardless of color. It is leafs out poorly, it is bad.

    Oh, and white center pith is also a red herring, probably of HT origin. Once canes get to a certain age, they pick up a dark heartwood, rather like trees. It doesn't mean anything, aside from the fact that the cane is a couple of years old. Since HTs were historically pruned quite hard, they never developed large branching structures of several year old wood, and the pith test worked on year old canes.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked mad_gallica
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Rose Beginner, for what it's worth, I have a similar pattern to yours of which roses are more likely to have surviving cane. Austins grow well here and tend to have decent cane left, but most of my hybrid teas and floribundas like the rest of the ones you survive are at best hit and miss for any surviving cane at all. Fortunately, you've already had the experience that you know your Julia Child can recover from a significant pruning so you won't be afraid to cut off canes that need it. If you're not sure, you can cut a bit then watch and see. As Mad Gallica says, if it puts out leaves that portion of the cane is indeed alive, but you have to watch for damage further down the cane that may cause that growth further up to wither and die fairly quickly in a few weeks. Not a problem, just keep an eye out for canes that aren't making it periodically in a season and cut below whatever looks like the problem.

    Good point MG about the oldest canes starting to go brown in the center as they get woody, but they're still healthy. Most of my roses that start to go woody are ones that I rarely prune (like Darlow's Enigma) so I don't get a look at the inside of those canes at all. In an average year 90% of my roses are pruned to the ground so what I'm checking is indeed 1-2 year old cane at most. If you can get some photos of those kinds of canes that are brown inside but healthy, that would be terrific, as well as non-green-colored canes that are fine. I know you have a good variety of gallicas and other once bloomers, and those would be very useful to show, as well as providing more encouragement for us in cold zones to branch out into those hardy and well-suited roses in our environments. I'm putting in about 6 gallicas and once-blooming mosses this spring, partly on your encouragement and partly on drooling over Paul Barden's roses far too long, so hopefully I'll have some sturdy woody examples of my own in a few years.

    Glad you like the photos and information Erin and Samuel! Feel free to chime in with any other exceptions to these rules of thumb for pruning.

    Cynthia

  • enchantedrosez5bma
    4 years ago

    Thank you Cynthia. Great tutorial and good tip of leaving growth till after the first fIush and shape after. Just like you, I prefer my roses to be alive come spring no matter what they look like. So far I've had really good luck especially with the Kordes roses. DA Charlotte comes through like a champ as well as Windermare and Pretty Jessica. Wndermare gets next to no blackspot too, one of the very few Austins that are almost disease free.

    As a somewhat related question: Do you still have Lady Ashe climbing rose? I saw your pics at HMF and decided to buy two since my Compassion dies to the ground every year so not too good as a climbing rose? LA is stated to be hardy to zone 5 so I should be safe.

    Sharon

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked enchantedrosez5bma
  • enchantedrosez5bma
    4 years ago

    Rose Beginner-where abouts in MA do you live? I'm in the tri-state area, listed as zone 6a but due to high elevation we lean towards 5b. I have had really good luck with the Kordes roses. They are all own root and going on their second year. Some had a good amount of dieback but others had almost none. Posiedon, First Crush, Kolorscape Fire Opal, Brothers Grimm, Climbing Rosanna, Polar Express, Lavender Veranda, Dark Desire, Innocencia and Climbing Rosanna had little to no cane loss except through breakage. My Pomponellas did okay considering how tiny they were last year. Golden Gate probably fared the worst of all but still has about 12 inches of live cane so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll bounce back nicely.Some of these were wintered over in pots buried in the ground since we always seem to buy more roses than we have time to plant :-)

    I also have had similar luck with the Easy Elegance roses. My favorite is Centennial Rose which apparently is no longer available since no one has it. People rave about Macy's Pride though which looks similar. Yellow Submarine came through beautifully as did High Voltage and Music Box. All of the Easy Elegance roses are grown own root so if you're lucky enough to find some at a nursery you won't have to worry about burying the graft.

    Julia Child is iffy, she has about two inches of live cane but last year she bounced back quickly so I'm hoping for similar luck this year. Clair Matin is a climber that also does really well. She is already fully leafed out and growing like crazy and flowers nicely throughout the season.

    Sharon


    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked enchantedrosez5bma
  • jacquierz5bmi
    4 years ago

    Thank you so much, nippstress, for this post. I read it just before I pruned my roses and it was so helpful. Even though I have had about 30 roses, some for several years, I am never sure if what I am doing is right. I was worried about some of the dark beige/brown centers on some of the canes but now know they are probably healthy. I was rather discouraged after this somewhat mild winter to have to prune off so much dead cane so yours were reassuring. Some of the most hardy for me are some of the Austins, more so than the knockouts. I also have some Bucks, Easy Elegance, Canadians, Bonica, and some floribundas such as Julia Child and Bolero and both of those were pruned to within a few inches of the ground which was discouraging. Now I have hope they will recover and be beautiful again. Our winter was a cycle of freeze, snow, thaw etc. and I think it was worse for the roses than when it gets cold and stays. We go to Florida for the winter, so I wasn't here to do anything. Maybe you should consider doing a youtube presentation.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked jacquierz5bmi
  • Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    @enchantedrosez6a,
    I'm just outside of 128, north/northwest of Boston. The USDA site shows it as 6A.
    Last year, the Julia Child died to the ground, but came back well enough. I'd have liked more bulk, but there were plenty of flowers. This year, I'm fertilizing earlier. I don't think I started until mid-late May last year. So far, everything except my Hot Cocoa is budding out.

    I believe my only own-root roses are my New Dawns, both doing well and due to be trained to the trellis.

    The only new rose on my shopping list is Twilight Zone, because I want to add both a purple and a grandiflora. But thanks for your list, I've bookmarked it and will keep it in mind for the future. I get most of my stuff from Mahoney's, but I'm interested in finding other garden centers.

    Here's a photo of one of the Hot Cocoa canes after cutting. As I said, nothing has budded out. There was also almost no green on the canes.


    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Sharon, sorry I was off reading GW for a few days (planting roses all weekend in the rain if you must know). I do still have Lady Ashe, in fact one as Lady Ashe and one bought from Vintage I think as Dixieland Linda. Both are fabulously healthy and hardy in our zone, and much more reliable than either Compassion or Blossomtime - I'm like you that both of these died to the ground and bit the dust then finally succumbed after a few years. Lady Ashe isn't my most prolific bloomer but she has some nice blooms and climbs well and hangs onto her cane over the winter. She has fairly stiff canes, so bend her sideways early when she's young.

    Here's a spray of Dixieland Linda when she was young, sorry I don't have a full bush shot of her.

    Jacquie - glad this post was helpful! It really is OK when you prune things down to the ground and already my roses are coming back gangbusters in the spring. Rosebeginner, I do see a little green sprout coming off to the lower left hand corner of that rose, and it looks like it's coming from the grafted part of the rose and isn't perhaps rootstock. It looks like you got the graft at least a little buried when you planted it and that's always a good thing in our zone.

    Cynthia

  • enchantedrosez5bma
    4 years ago

    Thanks Cynthia. Very pretty pics. How is her scent? I have 2 lady Ashe coming from Chamblee's next week (and 2 Kordes Honeymoon from Northland Rosarium plus way too many from RU!!! We're needing to buy more land.) I'm a little warmer than you so hopefully she'll be cane hardy. I was hoping to plant Rosanna here but nobody has her. RU has one tiny one that Pat will be sending to me after she grows a bit :-) but I really need 2 roses.

    It's been raining here too and cold so no planting yet but all the roses I've received so far are nice and cozy on my porch just waiting for spring.

    I loved your pruning post and have saved it for future reference. Would you consider doing an after first bloom shaping post? I would love to see what you do after the first flush :-)

    Rose Beginner- Wow, we're at opposite ends of the state. I'm on the CT/RI border. I have been to Mahoney's though. There are a couple of nice rose nurseries in southern MA. Roseland Nursery in Acushnet has lots to choose and Roseman in Barnstable. Both carry mostly grafted roses. Not close to you tho.

    Sharon

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked enchantedrosez5bma
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Sharon, I am SOOO the wrong person to ask about rose scents - sorry. Unless it's a Francis Dubreuil-like strong scent, it tends to pass me by. Being a climber I figure my nose isn't as close to the blooms anyway, so I rarely try that on Lady Ashe. Sounds like you have a great plan for combining the white of Honeymoon with your Lady Ashe. The combination sounds great! We'll look forward to pictures when they get going.

    That's a good idea about a shaping post later after the first flush. This year I might actually get there on some roses since I have a lot of surviving cane and have left a lot of gangly long canes. I'll see what I can do in June, and perhaps post an "after" bush shot of the roses pruned above to convince the doubters that they really are OK after drastic pruning.

    Enjoy the rain and the anticipation of your planting this spring!

    Cynthia

  • enchantedrosez5bma
    4 years ago

    Thanks Cynthia. I forgot about your defective nose ;-)
    Compassion had such a wonderful scent and was so prolific. I had four flushes the first year I planted her. I'll keep her though since has come back for her third year.

    That would be great to see a "clean-up" pruning. I had already cut some of my roses back before your post but I'll know for next year to wait until after the first bloom. Rose growing is definitely an adventure.

    I have a second huge order coming from Chamblee's, including Knockouts which seem a little less demanding of sun, and another big order from RU shipping on the 16th. Hopefully it will warm up a bit but not too much. We tend to go from 40's to 90's in a week here so not much nice gardening temps in the 60's or 70's. Even the roses complain, just not as loudly as me ;-)

    Sharon




    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked enchantedrosez5bma
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Just a comment that you don't necessarily have to wait till after the first bloom for the "clean up" pruning, just that you may delay or lessen the amount of the June blooms as the rose catches up. I'm willing to put up with gangly to get more blooms, but folks that like their roses tidy can do cleanup pruning with the first cutting out of dead wood if they like - it won't hurt anything.

    Sounds like you have some rose planting ahead in your future! Hope the weather cooperates for you. We had lovely 70's today so I played hooky from work for the last half of the day to get some planting in. Good thing that Compassion grows so well for you! Mine is only variably hardy in zone 5, which shows the difference a zone can make! I'm replacing mine and trying a more protected spot, since I agree she's a good rose.

    Cynthia

  • enchantedrosez5bma
    4 years ago

    Thanks Cynthia. I'll take flowers over tidy any day :-) I have an Austin Rose, St. Cecelia which flowers like mad, even when she has one leaf left after a bout of black spot. I need to find a way to camouflage her nakedness since her flowers are so gorgeous and she smells heavenly, so not too fussy about my roses although ALIVE is a plus!!

    I have 2 Compassion roses that need to be relocated once it warms a bit and stops raining. We're listed zone 6a but we're almost 1000 feet above sea level here so I think the elevation makes us closer to 5b plus also very rural here so we don't get the warmth of pavement like the towns do. My husband works two towns over and the trees are all leafed out there. Ours are still just budding. It's amazing how those micro climates work. It's supposed to be in the seventies next week then we'll probably morph right into the nineties which is typical here.

    I just got my 2 Lady Ashe from Northland, very healthy but small. My biggest orders are coming in the next two weeks from RU and Chamblee's then the fun begins.

    My "Eyes for You" survived the winter, but just barely. No one had any hardiness info on this rose at all, not even the vendors or HMF. Hopefully she'll do some serious growing this year but I think even z6a is a gamble with her. Even my Buck rose, "Folksinger", suffers severe cane dieback here but always grows quickly. This is my oldest rose, probably going on 20 years and is in almost constant bloom. She gets some black spot but not total defoliation so I'll keep her.

    Enjoy your weather and happy planting.

    Sharon

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked enchantedrosez5bma
  • rose_crazy_da
    3 years ago

    I'm bumping this post as many of us will be needing same advise on prunning THANK YOU Cynthia

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked rose_crazy_da
  • kate0012
    3 years ago

    Thank you for this! As someone brand new to gardening and roses, this is so helpful. I moved into a new house last year that had some climbing roses in the front of the house. It has some black hips and black canes but I hadn't done anything with it because I wasn't 100% sure if I should. Now I know. That baby is getting pruned today. Thank you!

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked kate0012
  • HalloBlondie-zone5a
    3 years ago

    This is perfect for us in the north. Thanks for doing this! It makes me feel so much better about all my dead sticks in the spring. Also I agree with your comment about the pruning videos online; they are not helpful here. It makes me laugh when people in warmer zones have to cut off 2 inches from a cooler winter! I'm lucky to have 2 inches of green left at the bottom!

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked HalloBlondie-zone5a
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Glad it's helpful folks! I agree Kate and Rose Crazy - seeing that someone else has cut off these nasty canes helps give us all the courage to go ahead and cut those babies. Just don't prune below the graft (the knobby bit in Rose Beginner's photo) since that would cut off all the rose you want and just leave the rootstock.

    Yep, Halloblondie - 2 inches of cane is enough for me to celebrate. It's astonishing to go from a forest of sticks to the few roses in a given bed that are truly cane hardy. Still, the rule of thumb is 60 days from pruning to bloom if the rose is well established, it's just that it may be a shorter rose than it will be later in the season if it has to regrow all that cane. Some of my roses never quite grow back strong enough to bloom but that's because I'm zone pushing (you can't make a rose happy in a cold zone that is simply a shrinking violet in the cold). It's amazing how many of them come back like gangbusters from what looks like nothing to start with in spring. Thank heavens for a good root system!

    Cynthia

  • AnneCecilia z5 MI
    3 years ago

    How nice to see this post brought back up for this spring - great idea, Rose Crazy. Cynthia did about as good a job with her tutorial for cold zone rose growers pruning tips as I've ever seen. Wonderful!


    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked AnneCecilia z5 MI
  • Ashley Zone6b
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much this is so helpful! Great info for a novice like me, it does get a little confusing.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Ashley Zone6b
  • MiGreenThumb (Z5b S.Michigan/Sunset 41) Elevation: 1,029 feet
    3 years ago

    This is the most well presented and information filled reference I have yet to encounter for all of the specifics and variables for pruning in cold zones.

    Thank you so much for this invaluable thread!

    Steven

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked MiGreenThumb (Z5b S.Michigan/Sunset 41) Elevation: 1,029 feet
  • Moses, Western PA., zone 5/6, USA
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Cynthia, you outdid yourself. Three gold stars for you! You packed more into your exposition on pruning for us Northeners than anywhere I have seen.

    Folks from CA, TX, FL, etc., have no idea how drastically we have to prune our roses in spring. Most demos of rose pruning are of very mild climate grown roses....give me a break! I want to see how a real Northern grown rose is pruned, what it looks like when pruning is done.

    Your exposition is inspiring to all Northern rose gardeners since if our roses look like yours when done being pruned for spring, we know there will be a lovely show of roses come summertime in our gardens, too

    Enchantedroses, Lady Ashe is a tough workhorse of a rose for me just like Cynthia says. My Westerlands died to the ground years ago. Lady Ashe is tip hardy with no protection here, boldly defying all that winter hits her with. What lovely, heavy petaled, v. fragrant, long lasting, long stemmed (for cutting), continuous bloom from spring to fall, she puts out. She does take time to establish from a qt./gal. size plant, as all climbers do.

    Moses

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Moses, Western PA., zone 5/6, USA
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Aww, shucks folks - thanks for the lovely comments! We've all been through those moments of panic with the shears going - can I really cut off ALL that cane? I think it helps all of us cold zoners to hear similar experiences from others in the same boat. I agree that the situation for pruning is so different in warm zones, though the principles from those can be used for our extremely hardy roses like the Canadian explorers. You may not need to prune this much on some roses, like many shrubs, so let the rose's canes tell you if they can stay around or not.

    I just went out this weekend amid planting for a second round of pruning and took off another garbage can full of canes that I'd thought were alive but faded within a few weeks. Incidentally, most of the dark red canes that I initially kept as experiments in the original post (like for Ann Henderson) ended up coming off as dead after all. Nothing wrong with keeping them on as an experiment, unless you have black splotches or bands on the canes that have the potential to spread down the bush. Those are apparently from bacterial cane wilt, and it's better to prune off canes with truly black sections than to try to salvage them. Brown or red can vary and may be worth the experiment, but black canes go. Look at your canes from the base up to see if it's worth keeping what's left, and it's OK to be ruthless if needed.

    Cynthia

  • Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
    3 years ago

    I'm going have to reread the fine print here. But so far, my two Julia Child's, one Knockout, and one DA Princess Anne are going gangbusters with very little winter dieback. The Hot Cocoas are doing ok but still need some pruning, and the Twilight Zone died to the ground but is coming back. Even the Barbra Streisand kept a couple of canes. I've written off the Miss All American Beauties, and picked up a Francis Meilland today to replace it (which I'll be planting deep).

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Rose Beginner(MA - 6A)
  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Since it's starting to be pruning time again for us in cold zones I'm bumping this back to active status in case the pictures in this are helpful to folks.

    Cynthia

  • Patty W. zone 5a Illinois
    2 years ago

    I just love this northern pruning guide that Cynthia took the time to put together.

  • witchygirrl6bwv
    2 years ago

    Very good guide Cynthia! I confess to being one of those people obsessed with getting the perfect angle on every cut. When I got my order from ARE I was really side eyeing those straight cuts they made. lol ;-)

  • totoro z7b Md
    2 years ago

    Thanks. This is a great help. What about canes that are wrikled on the outside but white inside? Is this dead?

    remaining cane is wrinkled too but white inside

  • nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Hi Totoro

    In my experience, the wrinkling outside is a sign that the rose has "decided" to abandon that cane and is withholding resources from it. There presumably is some sort of damage to the cane that isn't apparent to our eyes that the rose is responding to. I will often see this about 2-3 weeks after my first pruning when I'm relatively sure I've left live cane behind only to find a large portion of those canes dead as a doornail after all. This wrinkled stage is mid-way between apparently alive and obviously dead, and I've never seen canes recover from the types of wrinkling you show. Even if the wrinkling is from drought stress, those particular canes don't recover for me as the rose is wisely reserving its resources for the more essential canes below.

    In this case, I prune to below the obviously wrinkled bits. I don't think it hurts to leave it on for a bit, but why make the rose work any harder to deal with this dying cane when it could be working on new canes and leaves instead.
    Nice additional photos of canes to prune off - this can occur in any zone, not just us cold folks!

    Cynthia

  • Katherine OK zone 7b
    10 days ago

    Bumping this for anyone who got some nasty weather this year that needs some tips, this post was INCREDIBLY helpful for me! Thank you so much, Nippstress!

  • Lynn-in-TX- Z8b- Austin Area/Central TX
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Thank you for the bump and to Nippstress for the o.p. :) The visuals etc. provided helps.

    It is warmer now, but I do not know where to start... All of my roses are in pots, and at this point, I cannot determine what is alive, and will try to at least find “green on the outside.” I am also trying to determine if it is best to let the dead leaves, dead tender new growth, and dead blooms fall off before I do anything...give the roses a little time to recover from what has just occurred....

  • Katherine OK zone 7b
    10 days ago

    Lynn, I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do but I’m waiting right now, too. Doing other garden clean up and keeping an eye on the roses. I plan to prune next weekend at the earliest, even though that’s later than normal for me, just so I give them some time to decide what they want to do. We also have a chance of getting just below freezing again a couple of nights this week and I don’t want to stress them even more. I did pile more leaves around the base of some roses when I was cleaning out the rest of the beds. Trying to leave them alone other than that even though I’m itching to get them pruned.

  • Aaron Rosarian Zone 5b
    10 days ago

    this is a fantastic tutorial--thank you!!

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    10 days ago

    What happened to Cynthia? She hasn't posted for a while. Anyone knows?

  • seil zone 6b MI
    9 days ago

    Great job, Cynthia! I find it fascinating that you are in zone 5 and are already pruning and I am in zone 6 and have weeks to wait before I can start. There are still many inches of snow that have to melt before I will see the bottoms of my roses, lol! I prefer to wait for them to start to bud out before I try to prune. I used to do the standard exhibition prune of cut them all down to 6 to 8 inches but I no longer show so I like to leave as much of the live cane as I can now. With my short season it makes for a quicker spring flush and bigger plants all around.

    Just a couple of additions for newbies. Do not prune your once blooming roses at all now! If you prune now you can potentially take off all your bloom for this year, Wait until after your once blooming rose has bloomed out for this season and then you can prune it to your hearts content. The other thing is when in doubt about any cane start at the tip and work your way down. In the beginning I very nearly killed off my Reine des Violets because the first spring the whole plant looked dead. All the canes seemed brown/gray and lifeless and I pruned them off at the bottom. Well...they were all very much alive on the inside. The canes just get that color naturally, Poor RdV had to start from scratch! Now I take a couple of inches off the tip and look for that moist creamy/greenish white center (as opposed to a dry tan/brown center) and I work my way down until I find it. Ms. Reine has been much happier since I learned that.

  • Cynthia Nebraska z5
    8 days ago

    HI folks

    Sorry I've been off posting since last fall - I've missed you all. Partly I've been online so incredibly long hours teaching (university) that I haven't been able to stand being online any more than I have to be. Also, I had a devastating garden-wide bout with Rose Rosette Disease last fall and had to take out about 20 roses and prune ABSOLUTELY everything else to the ground to hope to avoid catastrophic rose disaster. I'll post separately about that, maybe this weekend. Suffice to say for 1000 roses several of which were 12' tall and 10 years old (owning their own dumpsters) this was an exhausting and demoralizing fall.

    To respond to folks in warmer zones that just got that bizarre freeze all the way to Texas, it doesn't hurt to wait a bit to prune. Dead canes don't cause the rose problems any more than long fingernails cause you problems beyond inconvenience, though if there is downy mildew spotting it's probably good to prune sooner than later. I try to wait till the rose starts leafing out and you can see what is alive at that point.

    Seil, no I'm not remotely pruning at this point - the post is several years old and was from mid to late March. We're still recovering from the snowiest January ever and one of the coldest Februaries ever. Thank heavens it was in that order! Under the snow it's always 32 degrees however cold the air gets, and we had easily two feet of snow (16" in one snowfall) protecting everything. It's just now starting to melt with temps this week into the 40's all week, but it'll be a long time till I'm out in the garden.

    Great tips about not pruning once-bloomers Seil. Fortunately those are among the roses that don't take any pruning at all and I almost never see winter damage. Occasionally I'll see a once bloomer shed a cane for some reason, but that can be pruned out after the spring bloom to avoid disrupting the other canes.

    For the first year ever since growing roses, i have absolutely no rose pruning to do this spring. Everything was pruned to the ground so it's a matter of seeing what resprouts from the ground, and anxiously checking for any signs of RRD and ruthlessly digging out. No second chances or wimping out.

    Glad this post is helpful!

    Cynthia

  • mad_gallica
    8 days ago

    Actually, most people here who grow once bloomers do prune the in the spring. Attempting to do it during the summer, when they are all leafed out, is just a bad idea for many reasons.

    The real lesson is that you do not prune them the same way you prune HTs, and most other modern roses. To simplify, you either don't touch a cane, or you take it out at the base.

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas
    8 days ago

    Just found this thread........thank you Cynthia for the work you put into this most interesting and helpful post! I live near Houston and have never experienced cold like this and have had no experience pruning roses after such a winter. Thanks so much!

    Judith