Pruning roses is important because it helps to reduce disease, encourages air circulation and lets more light in. This means that the plant is focusing its attention and energy on producing beautiful blooms for next season.
Roses need pruning at least twice a year.
Summer pruning is easy. Just look for the spent flowers and snip them off a few centimetres below the flower. This is called dead-heading.
But in Winter, roses need a stronger prune to encourage good, solid, new growth. Follow our 14 tips for pruning your roses in Winter and you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms:
- Look for spindly stems. Follow these down to where they’re about the thickness of a biro. Then remove them.
- The best time to prune is in June or July. But if you live in a really cold area of Australia, then wait until early August so that the frosts don’t knock back the new shoots.
- Look out for branches that are totally dead, any that have dieback, these need to be totally removed, right down to the stump level.
- Try and open up the centre of the bush, so there’s more air circulating.
- Look out for any water shoots, these are an olive green or even pink colour, and are absolutely essential. Take care of the water shoots because these are the young growth and this is where the rose will have its flowers. Just prune it lightly, so it will shoot out and produce more flowers.
- Never be afraid to remove large sections of the rose bush. Do this every couple of years to rejuvenate new growth. Remove any old branches, or any stems that look warty and crinkly.
- If you’re a timid person, prune about a third back, but, if you’re a radical like me, get out your secateurs and prune back by about half. Always from the top. And if you do that, you’re going to find you get many more good shoots for flowers.
- Look for an outward facing bud and cut. The new growth will then grow outwards and produce flowers around the outside of the bush. If you cut to an inward facing bud the direction of the new growth will cluster in the centre.
- Aim to cut at about a 45 degree angle and make sure that the cut is sloping away from the bud so that rain and dew won’t collect in the area where the bud forms onto the stem. This will help stop fungal disease.
- Heritage roses don’t need a lot of pruning. Just prune them to shape and tip prune regularly. Remove any dead bits.
- Ground cover roses are easy to prune – so easy that you could practically run over them with a motor mower. But if you are using loppers just cut them back, almost to ground level. They will re-grow by spring, particularly with some fertiliser, and mulch.
- Fertilise about three weeks after you’ve pruned.
- Remove the clippings and prunings from the garden. Clear them up. Don’t put them into the compost, but into the rubbish bin. This stops the spread of disease.
- Spray them with lime sulphur while the plants have no leaves and are dormant. That gets rid of scale and other fungal type diseases.