How to Prune Roses


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Come the spring, and unless you made some remedial pruning late in the autumn, most peoples roses look a little worse for wear. Although the plant produces delicate flowers it is not itself a ‘delicate flower’ and the problem often seen with older specimens is that they either haven’t been pruned or have not been pruned enough.

Most roses will benefit for being pruned back hard otherwise they will become woody, lose their ornamental shape and produce progressively less blooms. Of course not all roses are the same and different groups will require

1. For hybrid tea and floribunda roses there is a rule that the old victorian head gardeners used to go by which is as follows:

‘…The third bud of the third week of the third month…’

To be more specific you will need to cut just above the third defined, outward facing bud from the base of the plant, making an angled cut. It is also beneficial to remove any crossing branches, dead or diseased wood or manches growing towards the center of the bush.

2. For rambling roses the procedure is different as the flower buds form on the previous years wood. Therefore there are generally left alone unless you are train a particular shape. Again make angled cuts and remove any diseased or dying wood.

3. Despite the name climbing roses are not true climbers but are more like selected hybrid tea or floribunda cultivars on a vigorous rootstock. Left to their own devices they will grow straight up and only flower on the top of the stems. Best practice is to allow the plant to develop a number of strong stems and bend them over (without breaking them) to produce a curved or straight horizontal branch system. This will encourage the desired flowering buds and after the flowers have finished these flowering shoots are cut back to the main branchwork.

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