Rosarians generally recommend a major pruning when the plant is dormant in late winter to ready it for peak bloom in spring. Then a light pruning follows in summer, which can promote more bloom. Typically it's best not to cut more than 1/3 of the plant back at a time.
Pruning climbing roses is somewhat different than pruning other roses. Climbers don't "climb" by twining themselves the way ivy and similar vines do. They grow longer and longer vigorous arching canes, which will form a huge sprawling shrub, unless you tie them to a support, such as a trellis or arbor. After planting, climbers should be left alone for two to three years so they can develop long, sturdy canes. Prune only as much as is necessary to keep them within the desired boundary and to remove dead or damaged canes. After two or three years, select the sturdiest canes and tie them to the support in even spacing. These main canes form the basic structure of the plant. Other canes should be removed. After you bend these structural canes and tie them to the support, new growth sprouts along their length; these are the flowering shoots. During dormancy, you can cut back these shoots to about two to three buds above the structural canes. If a structural cane becomes old, damaged or doesn't bloom, prune it out. New canes will arise from the base of the plant. If it's a spring-blooming climber, wait until after they bloom to prune, then remove more of the older structural canes. The new canes produce most of the next spring's bloom.
The carpet roses can be cut back or sheared off (literally using a hedge trimmer) as preferred to tidy them up, this being done in place of the more exacting types of pruning usually done to other kinds of roses. Typically, the shearing would be done in very late fall after all growth has stopped, or in winter or very early spring before growth begins again next season. Cut the plan back to about a foot tall in winter, then simply trim off any wildly errant stems during the growing season using hand pruners, or periodically give the entire plant a light trim if needed.
The best time to prune your rose is in early spring, before the warm weather arrives. Floribundas grow more vigorously than hybrid teas and produce many new canes and stems each year. They have a tendency to be dense growers and some people use them as hedges. Cut back the previous season's growth by about one-fourth and leave as many of the strong canes and stems as possible. You'll be rewarded with many small blossoms over a long season.
Ideally, your rose should be pruned in late winter, while it's dormant. Cut top shoots back to 6-8". Normally, floribunda and grandiflora roses should have 4 to 6 buds per shoot, and hybrid tea, only one or two. If you want to play it safe, leave a couple more buds per shoot just in case a late frost zaps the ones that grow first. These roses are tough and are vigorous enough to generate new growth without a problem. Still, I'd cover your rose on nights when temperatures are predicted to dip.
A tree rose is a bush rose that's been budded onto a 2-3 foot high understock stem. Caring for your tree rose is similar to the care of all roses:
- Make sure it gets sunshine all day long, stake the trunk to help support it, and cut the spent blooms off to encourage additional blossoms
- Prune any errant growth as it appears, and trim annually to maintain the shape of the tree rose
- When planting, amend the soil with organic matter to help hold moisture and release nutrients to the roots
- Make sure the soil is well-draining.
- After planting, make a well or basin around the trunk to help direct the water to the root zone
- Apply mulch to help keep weeds down and to help hold moisture.
- When you water, water deeply to wet the entire root mass. Feed your rose about 4 weeks after planting, and again every six weeks while it's blooming.
With the above care, your rose tree should produce an abundance of beautiful blooms.
It sounds as though your roses succumbed during the winter. This could be because they weren't adequately protected with mulch material, or they received too much or too little water. If there's no new growth, the bushes are dead and should be replaced.
Your rose may still be establishing itself and may well bloom later in the season. You might also want to fertilize it with a phosphorous source to promote bloom. However, if all your other roses are blooming and youíve treated this one the same, then fertilizer may not be an issue. The lush growth indicates that this plant has had plenty of nitrogen, which can cause foliage growth at the expense of flowers. Could it have been fertilized inadvertently with a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer?
Here's some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorous), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes.
- nitrogen produces lush green growth
- phosphorous helps strengthen stems and produce flowers
- potassium keeps the root system healthy.
If youíre applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous. Bone meal is an organic source of phosphorous.
Most important is to find a product that works for you, your schedule, and your habits.
- Your region is important: Roses growing 10 months of the year in the South or West will need more fertilizer than roses that only grow for 3 or 4 months in the North.
- Controlled-release fertilizers are the simplest to use. One or two applications and you're set for the season.
- Organic fertilizers, such as an equal mix of alfalfa and cottonseed meals, are popular. Apply 10 cups of this mix around the base of each plant every 10 weeks, then cover it with mulch or compost. Many other organic fertilizers are available.
- Liquid soluble fertilizers that dissolve in water are fast acting but require the most frequent applications, sometimes as often as weekly.
Whatever product you ultimately select be sure to water before and after application. Start fertilizing in early spring after pruning, about four weeks before spring growth begins. In cold winter regions, stop fertilizing in late summer or early fall.
To encourage additional blooms all season, remove the spent flowers, preferably cutting the stem back to a five-leaflet leaf. Roses in containers need frequent watering; however, this can leach nutrients out of the soil in a hurry. So feed your roses every two weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer. If your fertilizer is formulated for feeding at six-week intervals, cut the amount in thirds and apply it to your rose every two weeks.