My new climbing rose flowered and then the top of the cane was broken by a squirrel. Then early this spring a rabbit chewed off all the branches coming out of the ground. Now the main cane is doing nothing but there are some tiny clumps of leaves at the base of the cane so it is still alive.
All may not be lost. Roses benefit from pruning, although perhaps not such drastic pruning as your squirrel and rabbit have provided.
Indeed, your rose is still alive if you see new growth at the bottom.
There are two questions, however.
- Is the rose indeed a climber or is it a rambler?
Climbers are generally less vigorous, produce larger flowers held singularly and are usually repeat flowering, Rambling roses are vigorous growers, producing smaller flowers held in sprays and usually only bloom once.
Ramblers develop long flexible canes from the base of the plant and can benefit from cutting back hard.
- Is the new growth coming from below the soil or from the bottom of the existing canes? If coming from below ground, the rose that grows up may not be the one you were expecting. A rose can be either grown on its own roots or budded or grafted onto a rootstock. If the rose is grafted, the suckers that grow from below the bud union will be quite different from the rose growing above the graft.
In any case, the new growth is promising, so I would take a “wait and see” approach.
For more information on pruning your rose, take a look at our handy Gardening Guide.
For general advice on maintaining your rose in all seasons, check out the Canadian Rose Society website.