Pruning mature seedlings

I have several roses I have hybridized over the last couple of years. They are 1, 2 and 3 years old and are growing in my rose garden. I have been pruning them just as I do my regular store-bought hybrid teas, etc. Is this pruning process correct for my seedlings? I live in the Atlanta area, and one or two of my seedlings lost no leaves (and they appear green and healthy) during this winter season. Should they be stripped off or left alone? Thanks for your help.

Hi Linda, roses do not “need” to be pruned, although pruning stimulates new growth which in modern remontant roses promotes flowering. Stripping the leaves also promotes new growth and is usually practiced as part of a program to reduce overwintering insects and diseases. If you are using your seedlings as seed parents it’s best not to prune as they set hips better when left natural. This is oversimplification of a complex topic. Thanks, Robert

In addition to what Robert said, some varieties (mostly OGRs), need to go dormant in order to bloom well the following season. If the parents need to go dormant, then it might be a good idea to defoliate the seedlings. You’ll have to experiment to find out what treatment each seedling likes best.

Hi Jim, I agree. As a gardener in a mild Winter climate I have experimented alot with OGR’s and some definitely respond positively to stripping. I’ve only had a couple of varieties that refused to bloom here even after being stripped. As a rule I suppose we could assume that the more tea or china genes a variety contains the less likely it is to respond well to stripping. Every variety is unique in it’s needs which is a point I’ve tried to drive home when I do talks on pruning. Thanks, Robert