March 24, 2007
ASK CAROLYN : READER QUESTION
Reader Nick writes : I read somewhere that it's okay to prune my Fairy Roses with shears and without regard of where the cut is to be made. Is this true ? I removed the mulch from them
( March 25 ) and now I'm wondering if I did it too early ?
Carolyn replies : Groundcover roses such as the Fairy require very little pruning and when you do it is to cut some of the old flowering wood from last year to promote fresh new shoots to grow and flower , or to control their spread.
After taking out any dead or weak shoots, cut back about 6 inches, or 25 percent, of the remaining shoots, choosing the older ones. ALWAYS try to cut just above an outward pointing bud. This is not to say that your pruning with shears will ruin your roses because they are very hardy, this procedure will just cause the roses to take longer to bud and bloom.
It's okay to remove any mulch that you might have added for winter protection, however, leave a 2-3 inch layer for preserving moisture in Spring and Summer. Also leave a one inch clearance around the crown, or base of the rose. Roses have shallow feeder roots and it's important not to let them dry out.
After pruning be sure to feed your roses and feed again in June.