Dilemma of the Spreading Rose Bush

Rose bush arches over lawn

Arching rose bush branches make lawn mowing hazardous

My back yard is home to a rose bush that flowers beautifully in early spring. I love this rose bush because the roses cover it so profusely. They are some of the first blossoms to burst with color each year.

There is one problem with the bush, however. Some of its branches arch out over the lawn so that I have to duck every time my lawnmower reaches the bush. I haven’t trimmed the bush this spring and summer because I didn’t want to harm it.

A handyman/landscaper once told me that the best time to trim trees and bushes is in February. That made sense since they aren’t actively growing then. But I always wondered if there were other reasons to wait until February.

Thanks to a May 18, 2022 article in the on-line Treehugger Newsletter, I learned more about the best time to trim trees and bushes. If you haven’t had a chance to read this newsletter, it is full of many interesting articles related to the environment, space saving architecture, gardening, animals, and many other interesting subjects.

According to the article, written by Mary Jo DiLonardo, the best time to trim trees and bushes is not in the spring, when many people get the urge to clean up their gardens and yards. That’s because most birds and mammals raise their young in the spring. They find sheltered spots under bushes and trees to nurture their newborns. When people prune their bushes and trees in the spring, they expose those sheltered places and put the animals at risk.

Pruning bushes and trees can make noise, and that may scare away parents so they don’t return to their nests, or they don’t come back as often as they need to. Then their little ones don’t get enough food to stay healthy.

Trees and bushes have growth spurts in the spring, but they tend to be dormant in the fall and winter. Any bacteria, insects or other things that grow on them will be dormant or dead during those cold months as well. So, it’s safer to prune trees and bushes when they’ve stopped growing during the cold season.

Some experts recommend pruning from late February to early March. Others suggest doing it from late October to early January. You will know when to prune in your area by noticing when the weather cools as winter approaches and when it starts to warm up when winter wanes.

Based on what I learned in the Treehugger Newsletter article, I think I will trim those spreading rose branches in late November. I still have a couple of months of lawnmowing left until the grass starts going dormant when cold weather arrives. While I mow, I will continue to stoop under the arch the rose bush makes. Everything will be fine – unless I forget to duck!

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