A mystery to many, but a necessary task. Pruning is done for several reasons:
. Removal of dead and weak canes.
. Height control.
. Production of larger roses.
. After dormancy or "rest period"


In the Northeast a rule of thumb that I use is simply--
When the Forsythia bloom is time to prune.
Most likely, this will be in late March to early April. The buds will be fully swollen, some will have "broken" (the growth started) and the ground will have thawed.

Hybrid teas (Non-Climbers), Grandifloras, and Florabundas should be cut back to a height of approximately 18". The cut should be made about 1/8" to 1/4" above an "eye" (dormant bud or the origination point for a new shoot) and the eye should be pointing away from the center of the plant. Cut out the dead canes at this time.

Ideally, there will be at least three canes remaining with a diameter of 1/2" or larger. If this is the case, remove any cane that is less than 1/4" in diameter by cutting near the "bud union". The "bud union" is the knob near the soil line that the canes radiate from. Be thankful if you have many more canes at or above the 1/2" diameter point, you have a vigorous plant.

While pruning, I protect myself with leather gloves and an old winter jacket. Do not leave any clipped stems around the base of the plant. If you do, the dried thorns will pierce with a vengeance if contacted during weeding or other soil level chores. You will need a good pair of shears for the pruning task.

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