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Roses Love a Good Hard Prune

If you haven’t yet pruned your roses, don’t wait too much longer. And make sure you have clean, sharp tools, thick gloves and a garden waste bag for the thorny twigs.

Sue Kelly at Reynolds’ Farms nursery recommends investing in a pair of Felco pruners to get the job done properly. A sharp blade is key to making clean cuts. “Felco sells replacement blades and springs for its pruner,” she says. Ragged cuts can lead to disease.

Here are some other tips to help you get your roses ready to dazzle the neighbors.

* The best time to prune roses is when the forsythia starts to bloom, and in my neighborhood that means now.

* Begin pruning from the base and try to open up the center of the bush so light and air can circulate.

* Cuts should be made at a 45-degree angle, a quarter inch above an outward facing bud. New growth should spread out from the rose bush.

* Remove all branches thinner than a pencil, and remove any suckers below the graft line near the soil.

* Don’t be afraid to prune roses hard. They like it. And don’t worry about killing your rose bush with bad pruning. These are very hardy plants and most mistakes will grow out.

Who prunes the roses at your house?

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