Stunted Growth On Roses After Pruning

by Kevin
(Graham, NC)


QUESTION: I have two rose bushes that started new growth in early March but, just stopped. They are 4' apart. One is a climber, the other a floribunda. They were cut back to 18" in February and fertilized with Bayer 2-1 when the new growth started. You can see new growth but it is stunted and kind of stringy. No leaves. These two roses have been healthy for the 9 years I've lived here. Other roses are doing fine. Thanks for your informative site! Kevin Cook
ANSWER: Hi Kevin,
Sorry, to hear about your rose problems, but I do not think it's fatal so hang in there.
I doubt that this is a rose disease, however. But I am not there in your garden examining your roses, so I will just have to go with my life long experience as a Rosarian.
So if I am getting this right after reading your post: you cut back a climbing rose and a floribunda rose to 18 inches. And now there is no leaves, only stunted growth.
Well if you had read my post about pruning climbing roses and pruning floribunda roses, you wouldn't have done that.
That's your problem now, combined with possible frost damage.
First, climbing roses should not have their long arching canes cut back at all, and only a bit if they grow out of bounds.
Here is my page about pruning climbing roses.
Now it will take a few years for the climber to get energy to grow back the long canes from where the shorter flowering canes grow.
Regarding the floribunda rose, you should only cut back 1/3 of last years growth, or it will take a long time to grow back to flower well again.
Did you have any frost and cold nights after you pruned down you roses?
Any new growth will suffer from frost, and get killed off, if you prune before all danger of frost is gone.
So that could be why the new growth is stunted and looking "stringy".
The only thing you can do now is wait for the roses to recover from bad pruning and frost damage.
Most likely they will recover but it will not be soon, but they will I am sure. You just have to be patient.
Best Regards,

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