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Pruning roses in New England in the spring.

I only have a few hardy no spray roses that I try to grow in my garden. Every year, I repeat the same confusion about when to prune them. They start growing so early. I saw growth on some 3 weeks ago and I didn't check before then, so it could have been earlier. But all of March was like winter and April has already had over night lows in the high 20s. Snow in April is not unheard of and I know we've had a couple of snow storms in May. The weather in the spring has become so unpredictable that I often worry that I will prune them back too soon and that will stimulate new growth and then we will get a freeze. BUT....if I don't prune them early enough, then I have a lot of new growth that I'm cutting off by the time I get to it.

So, what say all of you? (g) Is it better to cut them back as early as possible and not worry about it? And if I do that, do I then have to cover them on cold nights? Or should I be leaving them alone until danger of frost is over?


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