Q. How do I prune climbing roses?
Because climbing roses commonly originate as "sports"--spontaneous mutations of individual branches on established nonclimbing rosebushes--they may belong to almost any class. Old garden rose types are hardly pruned at all in the early spring; at that time remove only winterkilled branches. Prune everblooming climbers by cutting back the side branches; this stimulates the new growth that produces the best flowering on everbloomers.
The main pruning of climbing roses comes after the first flush of flowers--the biggest flush in the case of everbloomers and the only one in the case of many old garden rose climbers. The timing is calculated to cause the least interruption of bloom, while still allowing any new growth stimulated by the pruning enough time to harden off before winter time.
The main pruning in late June or early July involves removing any upright canes that are getting old and woody and are producing fewer flowers. To replace the old canes, tie in the most vigorous of the new ones sprouting from the roses' bases. Then all unwanted new canes are removed, too.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service