October and November is the ideal time to give your roses a good pruning so that they are ready for the winter. They’ll reward you in April-May with a beautiful bloom!
Roses are the quintessential English flower, but many people are worried about pruning them! A good hard prune will benefit your plants and give a much healthier and full flower display. Here are a few steps to ensure a beautiful display, no matter what type of roses you are pruning.
- Always prune your roses during their dormant season (November to March). You should prune at the beginning of winter or the start of spring because the frost might cause some dieback.
- Always make diagonal cuts that face away from the top bud. This will stop rain water from collecting around the bud, which can cause damage.
- Cuts should always be clean to prevent infections attacking the plant, ensure that secateurs are kept sharp. Larger branches should be cut back with a pruning saw and try not to use tools that have been used on other plants with infections to prevent the spread of disease.
- Always prune above an outward facing bud, this will encourage a large open structure rather than a small crowded one.
The type of pruning depends on the type of rose:
- Prune out any dead, dying or diseased stems. Older stems can be pruned if the plant is becoming over crowded.
- Prune flowered stems back by half.
- Train new shoots and tie in place using string or soft plant ties.
- Remove stems which are older than 3 years, or those that look weak, dead or diseased.
- Cut back strong stems to the point where last season’s growth began.
- Cut back weaker growth to within 10cm of the base.
- Remove all dead, dying or diseased stems, remove older stems from the centre to prevent overcrowding.
- Prune back new growth by up to half to maintain a balanced framework of new growth.
- Tidy up the inside of the shrub by removing any crossing stems. If left, these will rub together and encourage disease to enter the plant.
When pruning roses, make sure the ground is clear of any leaves or debris and apply a mulch of well-rotted compost or leafmould. Leave a 4 inch gap around the stem to stop any rot setting in. This will help slow the onset of black spot in your roses.