Both of the rose cuttings I started last fall have rooted, judging by the new growth, but I’m not taking the jars off of them until the weather turns really warm.

The roses are usually the first to get attention in my garden, before the spring cleaning or tending to the grass, so let’s talk a little about spring rose care.

This is the time when nurseries start shipping them bare root, with instructions to plant as soon as possible, which means immediately unless the ground is still frozen. Make the hole at least twice as big as the root ball and water generously to help the dirt pack up close to their roots.

It helps them get better access to nutrients while they settle in their new home. Growers usually recommended to prune the bare root roses immediately after planting.
If you want to start your own from cuttings you can still do it now before the shrubs get out of dormancy, even though hard cuttings are much slower to root. The rooting method is the same: take a six inch cutting with at least four buds, bruise the end, dip it in rooting hormone, stick it in the dirt, water the soil if it’s dry (which hardly ever happens at this time of year), put a glass jar over it and hope for the best.

For roses that need pruning, the goal is to remove old and damaged canes, open up the middle, get them into a shape as symmetrical as possible and give them plenty of room to develop new growth. Leave no more than four canes, sturdy but still green, evenly distributed around an open center and remove two thirds of their height.

Wait to fertilize roses until they have four to six inches of new growth and wait to prune them until the risk of a killing frost has past, which, by established gardening practice is when the forsythia blooms.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.