During our glimpse of spring a few weeks ago, I tried to get a head start on my spring to-do list. On that list was pruning the unruly climbing rose bush pictured below with front and back views.
This tall climbing rose bush was in the ground when we bought our property. I have no idea how old it is but it is established, about 8-9′ tall, and looks to have been neglected for quite some time. Last summer in an attempt to pretty it up we braced it to surrounding trees in order to keep it upright. It was top heavy and leaned badly under its own weight.
I’ve read that these climbing rose varieties usually do best with a trellis or some sort of structure to climb but we’re going for more a bush shape that can stand upright on its own.
First, I removed the braces to get a better idea of the problematic heavy areas. It was obvious that a heavy, overgrown section on the far left side (in the above picture) had to be removed to create a bit of balance.
With that clump gone, I went through with my loppers and hand pruners to remove old wood. Since it has been years since this rose bush was pruned, there were many old wood canes that needed to be removed completely.
You can see how dense the canes are in this picture:
The tops of some limbs with obvious demarcations between old and new wood were also pruned.
All finished and the climbing roses still look a little wonky but I had to stop. I dont have pruning perfected and I would rather do it in stages…prune a bit and see how it reacts then prune some more. I do find it reassuring that if you just get in there and start looking around the plant will give you clues on what to do.
We also have this little guy tucked into the periwinkle:
Pruned and cleaned up: