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The Thorny Side Of Things- Removing Thorns From Roses Properly

Who has not heard the saying: Every rose has its thorns? To many people the thorn on a rose has symbolism, whether it is spiritual or otherwise. The thorn seems to state that even the most beautiful things in life have a little bad to them. You could even say that the thorn is there to say “hey, you got to take the bad with the good.” No matter how you think of it there is some kind of meaning to it for most people.

In Roman mythology it is said that the thorns are there because Cupid was stung by a bee and started shooting arrows every where. Some arrows hit roses and because of the sting in the arrows the thorns took root and have been there ever since. Whether this is true or we will never know but if you are having trouble with thorns you should not be in despair. All you need is a little care and patience and you can remove these pesky daggers safely for a smooth stem.

When removing thorns from roses you have to be careful, the thorns are actually there to help the rose drink up the water. Therefore you have to be careful not to damage the stem when removing these sharp little daggers. It takes time and practice to know how to remove thorns without damaging the stem of the rose itself. If you accidentally peel or tear the skin you can hinder the amount water the rose gets.

You can take the thorns off the rose stems while they are still on the bush or you can wait until you have clipped them off. The best time to try and remove the thorns is when the roses are young and before they bloom if you are sure the roses will be cut sometime in the near future for what ever the reason. The proper method of dethorning roses takes time, practice and patience.

All you have to do is apply pressure to the side of the thorns and just simply push them off the stem. You can do this whether the rose is cut or still on the bush. Removing thorns from a rose can be a tedious task when doing it by hand. On some rose bushes the thorns can grow so close together that removing one is almost impossible without getting stabbed by another. This is where a dethorning tool can come in handy.

You can purchase a tool of the like called a thorn stripper, which will strip the stem of its leaves and thorns. You can also make your own by using some metal strapping that you can buy at your local hardware store. If you are going to make your own you should be sure to file the edges that will be closest to the stem of the rose, this will help not to excessively tear the stem up while dethorning the rose.

When using a dethorning tool all you have to do is hold the tool right below the flower and close the jaws and apply a little pressure and drag the tool down the stem. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or you could tear up the skin on the stem or you could even sever the stem. If you do this and heed the advice given, the thorns should pop right off. This may take a bit of practice but after a few tries you will know what pressure is needed to be applied.

You can also use a knife to remove the thorns from the stems of your roses. You can use a floral or a small paring knife to do this. When removing thorns and leaves from the rose stems you want to think about only removing the thorns and leaves that are going to be below the water level if you are going to put the flowers in a vase. Also you should only remove the thorns if the roses are going to be held or pinned on the body.

Remember that removing thorns from the stems can shorten the life of the roses. A good time to dethorn your roses is when you are making a plant litter pile to go into your compost pile. This will make it safer for you to work in your garden. After removing the dead and decaying roses from your bush or the vase in your home, remove the thorns and throw the remaining parts into your compost pile to help fertilize the ground.

Check out The Joy of Rose Gardening now at, to find great articles, advice, tips and much more on rose gardening topics.

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