We purchased some shrub roses and did not have very good luck with them last year. There were more sticks than leaves or flowers. Do you have any tips on how to get them to come back strong this year? Would it be beneficial to cut them all the way down and start again?
Your shrub roses would probably appreciate a little pruning and feeding this year. Prune out the dead, weak and interior canes. This will open the rose bush up, allowing air and light to get into the center of the plant. At this time of the year live canes will just be starting to turn green at the base of the rose bush. Live canes can be cut back to 12-18 inches. When you are pruning it is also a good time to make sure the graft point of the rose is at ground level or slightly buried. Finally shrub roses respond well to regular fertilizing over the summer. A granular slow release fertilizer can be applied to the base of the plant as soon as the rose begins to produce leaves.
A little judicious pruning and some fertilizer should bring your roses back to full bloom this summer. Good luck and watch those thorns.