Asked on Aug 06, 2016

When to prune roses in the desert?

by Phyllis
I live in the Palm Springs area. We may have 5 to 8 frosty nights per winter and generally the roses get set back a bit but flower lightly all winter. It's now August and they DON'T look so good because its so hot (stunted flowers). A local nursery owner told me that in the desert I should do the customary end of winter type of pruning in the early fall to reshape and essentially rehabilitate the roses after the hard summer. I had never heard of this and am wondering if anyone can offer some knowledge on the subject. Thanks
  5 answers
  • The information provided to you is correct. I live in a similar climate and I cut the roses WAY back down to almost nothing in late January or early February. Attached are two very early spring pics. These 3 rose bushes are in the front of my tiny house, which faces west, and receives the hot blazing sun all day. Now the canes are at the rain gutter. When they bloom out, I will trim them back quite a bit, but before too long, they will be right back up there! Hope this is somewhat helpful for you. :-)

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Aug 07, 2016
    Make sure you are giving the Rose bushes plenty of water early in the morning. If you have not feed them in the beginning of your season that also could be a reason for small flowers.Look for any signs of insects. Should you find any apply a systemic rose granular.

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Aug 07, 2016
    Thanks for the advice. What I should have mentioned was that I was told to prune in early INSTEAD of pruning after chance of frost. I did find a blog put out by a local (to me) rosarian that talked about pruning by 1/3 in fall but she also prunes as normal in late winter. In the Palm Springs area it's customary to not fertilize in the scorching (100-120 degrees) weather so the plants put out less tender new growth that can't take the heat. But the comment about bugs is a good call, we get lots of leaf eating insects here in the summer. Actually when I think about it its a miracle the plants make it here in the summer!

    • Even though I live in a similar climate, go with what the locals tell you to do. If their roses look great, yours will too! Me, personally, I do not feed mine from June till mid-October for that very reason, it can literally "fry" the plants. Even in the desert heat, water is the key. I dump the dog bowl water on them morning and evening. Also if I steam any vegetables (which I do almost daily), Let the water cool, then water outside potted plants and / or roses. And water in the winter too as our winters are much different than our friends in other parts of the country. On a side note, one year all our roses were in full bloom at Christmas. A neighbor had relatives visiting from the midwest where they were covered in 3 feet of snow. On Christmas morning they came to our house to take family photos in our rose garden. The lady was thrilled to bits. Nature is a wonderful thing. Glad our roses made her happy. That's Southern California living!

  • Ire8593269 Ire8593269 on Aug 07, 2016
    The easiest rule to remember is "to prune after the bloom" with roses late fall or early spring.

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Aug 13, 2016
    Did online research