Garden News: Start pruning your roses

Early February is an excellent time to prune roses.

Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses, in particular, should be pruned around this time every year, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill.

Otherwise, these roses tend to become leggy, less vigorous and unattractive and don’t bloom well.

Other types of roses, such as floribunda, polyantha, landscape and everblooming old garden roses, generally require less drastic pruning. But they still benefit from pruning to improve their shape or control their size when necessary.

Newly purchased roses have already been pruned, and no further pruning is required.

Gill says to use sharp bypass-type hand pruners, which make clean cuts and minimize damage to the stems. Cut canes larger than one-half inch in diameter with bypass-type loppers.

Prune hybrid tea and grandiflora roses by cutting back all diseased or dead canes to their point of origin. Then remove weak, spindly canes.

Prune the remaining canes to about 18 to 24 inches from ground level. Cutting back to buds that face outward will cause new shoots to grow away from the center of the bush, opening it up for light, air and orderly growth.

Roses that are not everblooming, including many climbing and rambling roses and some antique varieties, produce their flowers in late spring and early summer on previous year’s growth. If pruned now, they will produce few, if any, flowers.

Pruning is best done in midsummer after they have finished flowering.

Upcoming events

The LSU AgCenter and Tangipahoa Parish Master Gardeners Association will conduct a backyard citrus workshop for home gardeners on Feb. 19 at the Hammond Research Station, 21549 Old Covington Highway, Hammond. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the program from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A $20 registration, which includes lunch, is required.

For more information, call Sandra Benjamin at (985) 748-5462.

Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.