In The Garden

corel red rose

Pruning Roses

Winter is the ideal time to prune your roses. They are dormant at this time of year, and hard pruning in July will ensure a wonderful display of flowers in summer.

Why prune?

By getting rid of old stems, the young stems can generate and produce lots of quality blooms. Pruning also allows light and air to flow around the branches, which can reduce the risk of disease.

Prepare your tools

Make sure your secateurs are clean and sharp. If your roses are well-established, you might also need a pruning saw for thicker stems. Always wear long sleeves and a thick pair of gloves to avoid getting scratched.

What to cut

  • Any wood that looks weak, thin or dead
  • Stems and branches of pencil thickness should be shortened to 8-10cm, but thicker wood can be left longer.
  • Inward facing branches and branches that cross over or rub against each other. The aim is to open up the centre of the bush to let in light and air.
  • Remove suckers (shoots below the graft).

How to cut

Cut 1cm above an eye (leaf bud) on an angle of 45 degrees sloping down from the eye. Make sure your cut is clean, with no ragged edges.

Things to remember

  • Treat each plant individually rather than pruning uniformly or to the same height.
  • If growth is strong, remove less and if growth is weak, remove more. Vigorous pruning will give strong stems and good flowers.
  • After cutting, remove all the remaining leaves and spray the dormant bush with lime-sulphur spray to protect against fungal diseases and pests.
  • Climbing and weeping roses flower from mature wood, so don’t prune these too severely or they won’t flower.
  • Let newly-planted roses become established for a year or two before any hard pruning.
  • The only pruning that should be done in summer is dead-heading spent flowers.