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Hybrid Tea Roses

(Aug. 2012)

QuestionMy knockout roses are staying alive, with a little watering, despite the punishing summer. They would probably look better if I deadheaded them aggressively, as well as maybe blooming more later. Or should I leave them in place to produce hips for wild animal/bird food. Should I deadhead my other roses, the climbers and the shrubs and teas? I usually leave them pretty much alone, but they are pretty neglected concerning feeding and pruning.

AnswerMany rosarians do a little corrective pruning, both deadheading and thinning a bit of the rose plants in the heat of summer. This lets the plant conserve some of its resources, gives it a fuller foliaged plant and allows for better blooming when the temperature eventually breaks in the fall. Keep in mind that when a plant is blooming, its main resources go to the flowers. Some of our roses can get a little leggy by late summer, and could use a little more fullness of foliage. Don’t get carried away and do extensive pruning, but a little corrective pruning may be just what the doctor ordered. Continue to water and if it isn’t too awfully hot, give them a light dose of fertilizer as well. Knockout roses usually don’t form rose hips, since they are “self-cleaning” which means they don’t set seeds, but try to continually bloom. The only roses I would not prune are the climbers, especially those that only bloom in the spring, as you could interfere with flower set.

(May 2007)

QuestionWe transplanted two tea roses from my father's house three years ago. They came from my grandfather's house in the 70's and I am sure they are over 40 years old. They were beautiful the first year, but suffered last year and again with the cold snap we had in March. Both are close to one stalk only. We wanted to try and propagate save these family roses. Do you have a suggestion for the best way?

AnswerWhen taking cuttings during the growing season, the ideal cuttings are those from stems that have just finished blooming. Rose leaves come in clusters of leaflets. You want at least three to four (up to five) sets of five leaflets on the stem you are using to root. Remove the bottom sets of leaves that are on the portion of the stem that will be in the soil. Cut off the spent flower. Dip the cutting in a rooting hormone and place in fresh, sterile potting soil. Water the soil. Don't try to root in water; it doesn't produce as well. Then put the cutting, pot and all inside a clear plastic bag, or put a glass jar, or inverted clear plastic soda bottle over the top, creating a miniature greenhouse. This should keep your cuttings moist and in high humidity. Place the plants in a shady environment--don't put them in direct sunlight or you will cook them. Leave them covered until you begin to see active growth or they outgrow the container; then pot up or plant in the garden. If you have rambling roses with wild canes, you can also take cuttings or try layering the stems in and out of the ground.

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