Roses Growing Long And Spindly With Few Blooms After Being Cut Back Hard

Question From: M. Hutchison - Newaygo, Michigan, United States
Q: Hello again Nancy! I have another question regarding two of my other rose bushes. My husband, without my consent, chopped all 9 of them down to small stubs a couple autumns ago. Since then, two of them have been growing very long, skinny, spindly branches instead of their normal stalky thicker hardy branches. One of them finally bloomed this year for the first bloom and were covered in gorgeous flowers while it was still short, but all these long spindly branches are now growing again and they don't produce any buds. They just keep growing longer and longer and I keep cutting them back because they wind up taller than me and I'm 5'7". Have they turned into climbers? I don't know what to do with them now! The other plant only produced 5 flowers this year and I see no sign of buds. Just ever growing stems.
(Click Images To View Larger Versions)

A: Looks like you may have several issues. Cutting roses back hard stimulates new growth. Your roses look like they are growing in shade. These are full sun plants. Roses are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized. I like Rose Tone from Espoma. The Saw fly larvae was rampant this year and it looks like they ate all the leaves. Check out for more information. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy

Comment: One of them does probably get too much shade but the other is in full sun most of the day. It 2as early enough in the morning that the sun hadn't come around the corner of the garage just yet. I prune off leaves that have that worm damage. All the white spots on the tops tells me the little green caterpillar looking worms are underneath. I usually cut off damaged leaves so the plant doesn't try to heal it and I stead focuses on new growth and budding. At least that's what I was advised to do years ago. The plant in full sun is spindly and didn't used to be. I am quite frustrated. Your last answer about my new roses being sunburned was spot on. They had indeed come from a covered building. Thank you for your time Nancy. You must be so busy!

Response: When you cut off leaves, even damaged leaves, you cut away the plant's ability to feed itself. I suggest you take some pictures to a good independent garden center or nursery, preferably one that grows their own roses and talk to the person in charge of the roses. Best Nancy