Spring Pruning the Established Roses (Part 2): the “Haircut”

One of the aspects of my rose garden is that much of it is on a utility easement.  Well, technically there are two easements, a powerline easement and a petroleum pipeline easement, supplying jet fuel to the RDU airport.  For many years, the only interaction I had with the pipeline company was an annual mailing about how to detect a leak and what to do if you do, and "Call 811 before you dig…" warnings.  Oh, and they would bring a tractor with a mower attachment and mow the "back 40" (the unfenced area at the back of my yard.)   Well, in the past couple of years, they have been much more "active" about keeping the easement  clean and clear, including bringing in big trimmer trucks (think bucket truck with a big rotary saw blade rather than the bucket), and trimming any and all trees and bushes that grow in or into the easement.  Why is this relevant?  Because several of my rose bushes exceed the "no higher than 4 feet" rule.  So, I came home one evening, back in January, to find that they had given three of my roses and a gardenia bush, a "haircut", just straight across horizontally at the 4 foot level.  You can really tell with the two gardenia bushes that flank the gate.  At the time, I was pretty angry but, having talked with the folk the first time around, there wasn't anything I could do about it …. well, except make sure my roses did not grow over 4 ft tall. Sigh…

The last remaining rose bush in the OGR bed that I have not talked about  is Alister Stella Gray.  This noisette rose  is one of the bushes that got a "haircut".  I prune out a fair number of dead canes but the existing live canes are also not looking all that great.  I chose to leave what was there and see how it recovers from the haircut.

Old Blush is a china rose that is the header image above.   After the "haircut", it won't look like that for a while.  From a distance, it doesn't look all that bad.  It is starting to leaf out nicely but I probably won't get many blooms this year, particularly if we get a bunch of freezing weather  Up close, well, the haircut is quite evident.  I still need to go in and prune out a number of dead canes.

Since I am talking about the roses subjected  the "Haircut," I figured I should throw in the Lady Banks rose with  "before" and "after" photos.  Looks like there is  a lot of new growth since the haircut but, like Old Blush, might not get many blooms.  

Enough for now…. Part 3 will follow soon

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