Local News

April 29, 2013

To prune or not to prune?


Ivy advocates ruthlessness when cutting back the bushes to about 2 feet tall.

“The bella rugosa, cut back maybe 24 to 20 inches. Those are so big. You can only go back so far with them. Spring is actually the best time to do it. Pruning in fall can give the plant the wrong signal,” Ivy said.

Because pruning invigorates the plant, it may start growth processes again.

“You want it to get tough for the winter and shut down and be dormant. Waiting to prune in March or April is ideal for roses,” she said.

Feed the pruned plant after it leafs out. 

“It invigorates the plant with nutrients,” Ivy said. “You can put that on in May. You can use a granule or a couple of inches of compost under the plant. Because they grow so much, you want them to flower to get all these beautiful flowers. Giving them some food will help them to be robust and flower better.”

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For more tips on pruning roses, search for "An Introduction to Pruning Bush Roses" with Paul Zimmerman at


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