Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Roses

Roses and Clematis (page 4 of 4)

by Beth Marie Renaud

Pruning and Maintenance

Prune established roses just as growth begins, usually in early spring. Train the long canes of climbing roses as horizontally as possible, removing old and dead wood. Prune young shrub roses to about 6 to 8 inches from the ground.

When it comes to pruning, clematis fall into three categories. Early-flowering kinds don't require pruning; just clean them up after blooming. Lightly prune midseason bloomers in late winter or early spring. Prune late-flowering plants in late winter or early spring, back to just above the lowest pair of strong buds. If late bloomers look messy in fall, remove dead growth, particularly off a climbing rose partner, and prune to 2 to 3 feet above the ground, leaving remaining stems to protect the crown of the plant through winter.

Take care to regularly deadhead both roses and clematis (except clematis that display ornamental seed heads after flowering), especially in the first two years.

The most common diseases to affect roses are black spot, powdery mildew, and rust, but many disease-resistant roses are available. Clematis are primarily affected by wilt or stem rot. To control this, cut the plant stem below the infected point and destroy it. Disinfect your shears between cuts. Most plants will resprout even if cut to the ground, although they may appear dormant for a year or more. Take heart: once a clematis has developed woody brown stems, it is far less likely to be affected by wilt.

Beth Marie Renaud is former managing editor at National Gardening.

Photograph by Suzanne DeJohn.

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