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University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
A chemical-free way to keep roses healthy and minimize disease associated with foggy summer mornings is to prune to improve air circulation.
Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands from thorns and use clean, sharp tools. First, remove dead and diseased parts. Then remove anything that is growing where it doesn’t belong. This includes suckers below the graft union and branches that are crossing or growing towards the middle of the plant. Finally, prune for shape and health. Cut back to about 4-6 evenly-spaced strong canes, leaving 3-5 buds on each cane. Make pruning cuts ¼ inch above outward-facing buds in order to create a vase shape that allows for good air circulation. Good air circulation allows the morning dew to dry and helps prevent rust and powdery mildew.
More Information: Rose Pruning
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