established Rose care

What comes to mind right off when most folk are asked about rose care?

prune, prune, prune and spray, spray, spray… Please, set
aside those concerns for a moment and let’s consider why those are the first things that come to mind. By far, the leading class of roses that has been bred and cultivated since the early 20th century is the Hybrid Teas. The shrubby forms and blooming habits of Hybrid Teas are appealing to many home gardeners. However, they do require regular spring pruning and in some cases, intensive prevention and treatment of diseases and pests. Old garden, heirloom and other classes of roses do not necessarily require pruning.

Some, like many of the climbers, may even resent it. Many old garden types and classes of roses other than Hybrid Teas are also much less prone to diseases and infestations. Many heirloom roses, long forgotten after the advent of Hybrid Teas, have been rediscovered growing and blooming in old graveyards, along roadsides and around the foundations of old homesites. These have had no human intervention in generations. Yet, they thrive. Firstly and foremost, we must remind ourselves of the basics: the right plant in the right place, well-prepared soil and appropriate moisture. If these three measures are well planned and maintained, roses will thrive.
heirloom roses

A healthy, vigorous rose is much less susceptible to disease and substantially more resilient regarding insect pests. Think of a human being. A well nourished, hydrated person with appropriate shelter and clothing is much less likely to experience illness than someone without these essentials. The same is true for roses and any other garden plant for that matter. If the basic essentials are in place, the work is well more than half done. Caring for your roses will then be much more enjoyable and the fruits of your labor more rewarding.

Lynn Cochran Master Gardener Volunteer and member of American Rose Society.
Forsyth County North Carolina.

Helpful Links

Pruning Old Roses
Rose Pruning