Pruning roses promotes growth, adds vigor to plants

OVERTON – Pruning roses should be an annual part of plant maintenance because it helps promote new growth and maintains their vigor, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research expert.

Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist, Overton, said roses are best pruned before they begin growing after winter dormancy, typically between January and March depending on location.

“Valentine’s Day is a good reminder that it’s time to prune the roses,” he said.

Pruning helps promote growth and thins the plant to allow access to sun and air flow, Pemberton said. It also encourages new breaks to come from the base of the plant.

There are two types of roses – hybrid teas, which grow upright, and landscape roses, which have a bushy appearance. Hybrid tea roses grow flowers fewer in number but are much bigger and better for cutting and floral arrangements. Landscape roses present many flowers and make a better floral display within landscapes.

“Hybrid teas are all about the size and quality of the individual roses, while hedge roses produce a lot of smaller flowers and are best for that pop of color in a homeowner’s landscape,” Pemberton said.

Roses are the most economically important ornamental plant in the U.S. They contribute substantially to the ornamental horticulture sector, which is the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Garden roses account for approximately $400 million of wholesale domestic bare-root and container production, and form the cornerstone of the multi-billion dollar landscape and shrub industry.  

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