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How many rose hips before a rose is "pregnant"?

Hi folks

I know that a general rule of thumb is that the more energy a rose puts into making rose hips, the less energy it has for making new growth. I have also heard here on GW that after a certain point, when the rose has enough hips it considers itself "pregnant" and out of the bloom business and into the hip production stage. Is there any type of gauge to determine how many hips convince a rose to shift its production status? This came up as I was deadheading last night and noticed some blooms I'd missed at the top of my 8' arch in the backyard (probably Mme. Caroline Testout, cl.). I was pondering how motivated I was to haul out a ladder and prune off those out of reach hips, and the answer seemed to depend on whether I was sacrificing the rest of my fall flush if I didn't.

I'm sure the answer as always in the rose world is "it depends", and certainly some roses don't produce hips much at all. I would guess that it would come down to some ratio of blooming points that have turned to hips vs. those that are still active, so perhaps larger bushes can handle a few hips that I've missed where smaller bushes couldn't. Does anyone have any more definite way to tell when a rose is "pregnant" or how many hips would set it off? I realize for humans it can only take one slip-up, but fortunately we're not expected to be everbearing! In my case, carrying twins over one summer was plenty of bearing for me. I'm not aware of any rose-specific pregnancy tests, but if it involves rabbits dying I have a few haunting my yard that I'd be glad to volunteer (just kidding of course - my daughter would be mortified if I harmed a hair on their furry heads).

The bottom line of course is how many deadheads I can miss without jeopardizing later blooming in any given rose. My essential laziness cropping up here again...


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