The Rose comes out consistently as one of the Uk's favourite flowering plants, and when you get a plant that flowers for months, and has scent and full colour, it's not surprising it should be taken to the nation's heart, but what most gardener's aren't quite so certain of is - how do you prune Roses?
I have a vivid memory of being marched around Hadlow College one Monday morning while being given the plants for that week's identification. A question was asked about the Roses which had been pruned a few weeks before, and our tutor proceeded to shock us all by pruning off even more of the already short stems to an even lower bud. - Of course they came back and flowered magnificently that summer, because pruning promotes and encourages growth, but beginners are often far too nervous when pruning.
So here are the basics.
Pruning promotes growth.
If you prune at the right time for that plant, that means that you will create more plant that can hold more flowers.
If you prune at the wrong time, you will take off the flower buds, but the plant will still grow.
As long as you prune to a bud, the plant will grow away strongly, - if you cut between buds, the plant may "die back" to the next healthy bud.
If you don't prune a plant, it will still grow and flower, it may get congested and branches may rub against each other, but neglect for a year or 2 rarely kills plants, particularly roses.
Use sharp Secateurs or Loppers or pruning saw (depending on the size of the cut to be made) and always cut with the blade nearest to the base of the plant. This means that any tear or the bark made by an cut that isn't exact will be on the removed piece of branch.
right way round
When pruning an overcrowded rose, you do need to be bold.
In this example, this Margeret Merrill standard rose has flowered really well, and has lots of new buds, but is really overcrowded and has had several leaf diseases which will weaken growth for this year
I made my cuts sloping so that any water can run off them, and within a cm of the bud (closer if possible)