A rose by any other name, sure it would smell as sweet, but it would also have thorns that prick and jab mercilessly and make me think pruning is going to be one of my least favorite gardening chores. Ouch, those suckers hurt!
The house we bought came with five shrub roses in the back, and I'm going to do my best to keep them going. I never had roses of my own to care for, so this is all new territory for me.
The current issue of Organic Gardening had a short piece on the basics of rose pruning, so I used that as my guide. It said to prune when the buds begin to swell, and that looks to be right about now.
I clipped the branches at about a quarter inch above the buds. Then I removed some of stems that had no buds at all. There were also a few canes that were dead, so I cut those down to the ground completely. Reaching in to get to the base of the plant was the worst because, man, those branches really do like to cling. I was wearing a down jacket at the time and I thought there'd be feathers flying at one point. Scrape. Rip. Ow!
Pruning helps improve air circulation around the plants, and that, in turn, supposedly wards off common rose diseases. Let's hope so anyway. Those bushes are full of new buds right now. I can't wait to see how they'll do this summer, now that the beastly pruning task is crossed off the list.