Pruning 'Julia Child' Rose

prairiemoon2 z6b MA
5 days ago
last modified: 5 days ago

I usually manage to prune the few roses I have, but some years, it's confusing which is the best way to do that. I always think I should prune them before they start showing growth, but every year that gets earlier. Then I worry, that pruning is going to trigger new growth, and I can't count on the weather not to provide below freezing temperatures and wind, etc., that could kill the new growth.

I have one older Julia Child, that after a mild winter, has new growth and leaves already unfurling, which seems quite early to me. And I just got around to pruning it today. The new growth is high on the shrub, so I just cut off any crossing branches, any dead branches and the part above the new growth, with dead hips on it. A couple of parts of the branches were black, some pale brown and dead, I cut those off. Some of the stalks are old and woody in comparison to younger stalks that are green, but have plenty of new growth on them further up the branches. A lot of the branches that are green, have a mottled, red appearance, higher up.

I always wonder if even with an older rose, that has new growth further up the shrub, whether I should still cut it back to less than 6 inches from the ground, to try to trigger new branches coming up from the ground. Or if I should cut off everything but the greenest of branches and not leave any mottled branches even with healthy new growth on it. And if it starts out looking like it has a good shape, if I cut off some and not others, now it doesn't have a good shape.

Anyone that could share how they answer these questions for themselves, I could use the input, thanks.

I tried to take photos after I pruned it, they didn't come out that good. I'm still considering whether to cut it back further.

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