Very old unpruned climbing roses

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Very old unpruned climbing roses

Postby bristow » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:11 pm

In my new place there are some very old climbing roses that havent been pruned for years. The stems are as thick as my wrist and some of the plants consist of up to ten such stems. The climbing part is a huge 1-2 metre thick tangle of dead-looking, spiny stems with a thin outer layer of leaves and a few flowers.
Actually I would just burn them except they are near buildings, because I can see no way to revive or prune these plants. There is no way to select certain canes to keep, or prune off dead wood; the tangle is just so impenetrable. Does any one have any suggestions?
bristow
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Re: Very old unpruned climbing roses

Postby greg.l » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:23 am

You could cut them right back with hedge trimmer or a small chainsaw. You will need leather gloves and sturdy clothes to remove the prunings, chop them into shorter lengths. You can get cordless electric saws that have extension poles, maybe hire one for a day.
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Re: Very old unpruned climbing roses

Postby bristow » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:22 pm

Thanks for your reply. Where should I cut them back to? I could cut them back to ground level, or perhaps to where the the main stems (trunks, actually) start to branch. But these stems look so old and it doesnt look as though new shoots have come from them for years. Anything else seems impossible because it is just such a tangle. I imagine the flowers must be nice old fashioned types but if i wont get a good display from cutting them back, I would rather just get rid of them.
bristow
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Re: Very old unpruned climbing roses

Postby greg.l » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:51 am

They sound like rambler roses, they get clusters of small flowers in late spring. They should recover from hard cutting back with lots of new canes.
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