Blaze climbing rose
I planted my red blaze climbing rose about 3 years ago, it didn't bloom at all last year but got a good bloom at beginning of summer this year, But stopped blooming after that. I did fertilize & it faces south & gets plenty of sun. Do you have any advice, particularly about pruning?
Arapahoe County Colorado trees and shrubs
Your rose is probably Blaze Improved. The original Blaze is a once bloomer only hardy to Zone 6b and would likely not survive Colorado winters.
Blaze Improved is classified as a Large-Flowered Climber with scarlet red, cluster-like flowers. It is considered a continuous or repeat bloom rose with the heaviest bloom times in June and early fall. It can reach a height of 12' to 15' and is hardy to Zone 3b.
Basic rose care includes:
At least 6 full hours of sun per day.
Adequate drainage in a well-amended soil.
Roses need about 1" of water per week, but could be more in the hot summer and less in a rainy spring or cool fall. Check the soil 2-4 inches deep and if it is dry, then water.
Roses are considered "heavy feeders" so a supply of fertilizer is necessary. Pick a fertilizer specifically for roses (such as Mile-Hi Rose Feed available at local garden centers). This provides nitrogen for growth and strong canes, phosphorus for healthy roots and flowers, and potassium for root growth, bloom color and overall plant vigor. Roses should be fertilized in the spring (about May 1), and then every 4 to 6 weeks with the final feeding in mid- to late-August. Use as directed and lightly scratch into the soil around the base.
Adding a layer of mulch around the base helps with moisture retention, keeping the mulch from touching the canes.
Winter protection in Colorado is necessary so roses have a healthy start the following spring. When temperatures are consistently below freezing, cover the base of the rose with mulch, leaves or soil. This protects the graft from the freeze/thaw cycles. Be sure to water rose bushes throughout the winter. Water the same time you would water your lawn and trees/shrubs when there is no snow.
Proper pruning is what promotes blooming:
Obvious dead wood can be pruned at any time during the year, however, major pruning on continuous bloom climbers should be delayed until after the first flowering is finished. Climbers have two different kinds of stems:
The climbing canes which should not be pruned unless there is dead to be removed. New climbing canes emerge from the ground and can be trained to replace older diseased or dead climbing canes.
The lateral canes are where the blooms are. After the first blooms are spent and you are deadheading them, cut the lateral canes back also leaving 2-3 buds on the lateral. Pruning the laterals is what promotes re-blooming.
Finally, the Denver Rose Society has a book available online and at garden centers on growing roses in Colorado. They purpose to educate on all things roses, and the book covers an entire range of topics.