Deadheading and Other Types of Summer Pruning

Seasons mark
The passing years.
Each one here-
Then gone.

It’s about time

Every temperate climate is measured in terms of its number of frost-free days. Roses begin to grow in earnest when frosty nights go away. A clock begins ticking when the growing season begins. It is counting off the hours before the growing season ends.

If you deadhead a typical hybrid tea in July, it will generally produce another flush of blooms in mid-August. That’s another kind of garden clock.

If you don’t deadhead some roses, they will not repeat bloom. That is lost bloom and lost time. Neither you nor your plants will never regain that little bit of lost bloom time. The bloom clock stopped—but the seasonal clock did not.

Eyes in the garden

Deadheading is all about opportunity. When you are in your garden, you notice what is going on with your plants. When you are with your plants, you can make small changes that sometimes enable big results. A cut here can remove a weak stem. A cut there will give priority to a strong, new break.

Early-season deadheading

Ah, the first flush of bloom in the Spring! Was there ever a thing so sublime? Sadly, all things fade, including our roses. Please don’t wax poetic about the faded blooms on your plants; cut them quickly so more blooms can follow.

Note how your plants are growing. Make minor adjustments in the water and fertilizer cycle, as needed.

Summer pruning

Winter pruning is about cleaning, refurbishing, and making way for new canes. Summer pruning is about minor corrections and setting up for the last bloom cycle of Autumn.

Go a little more slowly when you deadhead your roses in late summer. Take the time to note how the plants are growing. You will probably note some twiggy growth, here and there. Cut below such growth to a stronger stem. The plants will usually respond with superior bloom.

By Tom Liggett, Rosarian Extraordinaire

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