Compost for seed sowing
Pruning Dogwoods, - Cornus Midwinter Fire

Pruning Roses


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

This does make a large difference and is worth checking on a regular basis that you are holding them the right way up.

When pruning an overcrowded rose, you do need to be bold.

Rosebeforepruning 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

Rosepruningafter I pruned out several of the main uprights so that the centre was more open, and then found outward facing buds as low down the stems as possible. 

I made my cuts sloping so that any water can run off them, and within a cm of the bud (closer if possible)


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Great advice - you certainly must have milder weather than me - ground is frozen rock solid here - I'm hoping to get my roses pruned by 17th March.

Stopwatch Gardener

Claire -- three cheers for the huge picture. Is that William Lobb? At this time of year, pictures like yours make my heart soar.

I always forget to pay attention to how the secateurs are being held; good point. I prune my climbers and small bush roses carefully, with the techniques you explain, but for my hedge of rose de Rescht I more or less shear straight across the top. It seems to tolerate this treatment. I did the pruning but haven't done the Vitax and manure yet -- the ground has now frozen solid! Since they're obviously still deep asleep, I hope the roses won't mind if I delay that part of the treatment a bit longer.

Pruning the climbing roses is almost my favourite part of the gardening calendar. I love guiding them gently in the right direction while they're dormant. It reminds me of tucking in a sleeping child who'se gone all upside-down in the bed.

Sheila Averbuch -- Stopwatch Gardener

Robin Ainsworth

great site - robin


Had occasion to call in at the problems desk at Wisley yesterday and was urged to disinfect seccateurs after each use. Have to admit I rarely even clean them but resolve to do better in future.

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