Pruning climbing rose

(Question)

My climbing rose has grown some very long canes after pruning after the first flowering. It is now going into fall and there are a few shoots that are very long and might break off in winter.
Can I cut them back a bit? Should I leave the plant and wrap it for the winter? It is against a south facing wall in the back of my house in Thornhill.

(Answer)

Generally, it is a good idea to prune climbing roses during the first year after you plant them to help train the plant.  It is suggested to prune newly planted climbing roses to three canes, which will encourage production of several new shoots. After that, as climbing roses are supposed to actually climb, it is not necessary to prune them for the winter.  However, it is fine to cut the long shoots off if you feel they might break off.

Our Master Gardeners Guide, Pruning Roses, includes details of how to prune all types of roses, including climbing ones.

As for protecting your plants, we’re not certain what kind of rose you have – and what its cold tolerance might be.  I suggest that you ask your garden centre whether the plant is winter hardy.  If it is, insulation from the snow cover should be enough to protect it during the winter.  You can tie branches to avoid damage from the wind or heavy snowfalls.

Where winters are very cold or where roses are not hardy, it may be challenging to protect them from winter damage.  There are a few options to consider. For example, you could pack straw around the plant, then wrap it in burlap.  More details are available from the University of Illinois Extension – Our Rose Garden – Winter Protection.

Our Master Gardeners Guide, Putting the Garden to Bed, has some helpful information about how to prepare your garden for the winter, including recommendations for cutting back roses.