The most common error made in pruning roses is the location of the cut in relation to the dormant eyes or buds on the stems. Every rose stem, either on a bush in a dormant state or on one in full growth, has a number of growing points, or buds, often hardly visible to the eye, which are capable of producing new stems. They are located at each joint along the stem. On dormant, leafless plants, the buds, hardly bigger than the point of lead in a pencil, may extend from a ring-like mark around the stem. On plants in leaf, the buds are in the angle formed by the leaf stem and the main stem.

New growth must originate from dormant buds. There are no growing points between joints or nodes along the stem. When a long section of stem above a bud is left after pruning, it must eventually die back to the next node below, and in doing so often becomes diseased, destroying the whole cane or stem. This is why cuts should be made no more than I to in. above a dormant bud, using sharp shears and being careful not to tear the bark or bruise the bud. Cuts made at nodes heal over in time, closing the wound.

Buds near the tops of stems grow first. When stems are left long, branches will be high above ground; conversely, low pruning induces basal branching. Plants which are thriving will send up shoots from the base, commonly known
as "water shoots" because they are induced by watering or rain after a hot or dry period. They will usually branch out at the top with several good flowers; afterwards it may be wise to cut back to a good, solid eye on the main stem to encourage branching lower down.

The shape of a bush rose may be controlled to some extent by pruning so as to force new stems to grow away from the centre of the plant. It is desirable to open up the middle of a bush to admit sunlight and air. By making all cuts just above dormant buds that face outward, the new shoots will extend away from the centre.
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