Rehabilitating A Climbing Rose, Part II

Sunday, I spent hours continuing to work on 'Crepuscule', the rehab climbing rose.
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I worked on it for hours Monday, too. 
Tuesday morning, too.

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I got all the dead wood off, and shortened almost all the tertiary laterals (twiggy laterals coming off longer substantial laterals growing from the main (basal) canes).  I secured a few canes to the fence, but mostly just removed dead wood and twiggy growth.

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Some of the main canes, which had ground contact in several spots, have rooted themselves along their length.  At some point they can be cut and separated, creating multiple plants.  Not this year, though.


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In the original post about rehabbing this disgracefully neglected climber, I mentioned it was a little late for pruning, but it really wasn't.  Because Crepuscule is slow to leaf out in spring, plus all the rain, it's been actually ideal.  I've discovered that a thoroughly water-saturated rose is at its most flexible.  Even though some of the canes are more than six years old, they were still plenty flexible.

To finish up, the now nearly leafless plant got a big hit of The Blue Juice followed by a generous dump of saved rain water.  The ground is deeply moist from the recent rains and the plant is well established.  A big hit of 35-6-6 is going to put foliage back on that puppy quickly.  Then the flowers shall follow.
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In about six weeks or eight weeks, I hope to have plenty of flowers and foliage once again, on a far happier plant.  I'll post results then, so we can see if all the work was worth it. 

Two revelations gained during all those hours of meditative snipping:   first, it is wise to work with years of good rainfall.  It was a good rainfall year, so a major whack this year won't be as stressful, and will be more successful, than a whack in a drought year.  The soil is deeply moist, so the rose will rebound quickly, and produce a lot of good new growth.  Doing the same thing in a drought year would not be nearly so effective. 

Second revelation:  rehabbing a climber isn't really any different than pruning a climber.  You take off all the dead/diseased stuff, shorten the laterals, perhaps remove the oldest, non-productive one or two main canes, and then rearrange on the support as required.  That's all. 

I end with a completely unnecessary picture of Madeira Geranium, with the fuzzy stems aglow in morning sun.   It will be dead in a few weeks, but for now...
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Comments

  1. Good work and I'm sure the rose will come back with a lot of flowers !

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  2. Wow - that looks like quite a project! i have yet to tackle cutting back my roses this year...it's on the list though - i have a few that i have completely lost all together & need to dig out & replace. I wanted to invite you to link up tomorrow to Cottage Flora Thursday's - it's a great garden party with lot's of other gardeners! oxox, Tracie

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  3. Oh that Crepuscule is going to be magnificent this year. Thanks for such an interesting post. Love your blog!

    Jerome

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  4. Does your Crepuscule grow wide more than tall? I'm curious because I've got on planted on the corner of a iron fence and am hoping it will get tall enough to tumble over it. But, so far at two years old, my Crepucule is dense and wide, but not tall although a couple new canes look somewhat promising. i've heard that Crepuscule doesn't put out tall canes until it's at least 5 years old, then it can go quite high. Seems unlikely as yours at six years old looks like a big version of my rather squat two year old Crepuscule.

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  5. Some of those canes are 10 or 12 feet. I've pulled them all horizontally along the fence rather than up and over. Mine started to get those longer canes in the third growing season.

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