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Making The Most Of Pruning Roses

Posted on July 4, 2016 at 11:30 PM

If you want better quality blooms, which are less likely to be attacked by insect pests or diseases, are more vigorous and present a tidier appearance, than correctly pruned roses are the way to go!

If they are badly, brutally pruned, they still show their forgiveness by producing some good blooms. If they are left unpruned altogether, the flowers will be smaller and poorer, and the plant will suffer from diseases aggravated by congested growth.

Now is a good time, in most districts, to prune roses. In areas prone to heavy frosts, it may be better to leave this job until August to avoid stimulating new growth. This is how to prune the most commonly-grown roses.

Hybrid-tea of floribunda types:

Bush and standards are pruned the same way. After all, a standard rose is only a bush rose on a stick. Remove all dead or weak wood plus all growth which heads into the centre of the bush. Cut off flush to the branch without leaving a stub. The growth should now look a bit like a wineglass, with plenty of open space in the centre. Cut out all small, twiggy growth, then prune back the main branches to the top well-developed, outward pointing bud. The finished plant won't look pretty, but it will appear leaner and more sparse.

Suckers grow from below the bulge where the graft took place and are best cut off below the soil if necessary, even if part of the root from which they are growing is also removed. Watershoots, the vigorous new growth from above the graft, are different. They are important because they are the basis for the continued framework of the plant. Their growth is soft and rank, so they must not be pruned hard. Only the tips need be trimmed to remove seed capsules.

Climbing hybrid-tea and floribunda roses:

Start from the base. Cut out all main branches more than four years old and carefully disentangle them. The remaining young canes are left unshortened if possible, but the masses of twiggy growth sprouting from them is best trimmed away, leaving a bare, whippy growth to be tied in a fan-shape to the trellis or support. This type of pruning means that climbing roses will have most of their wood replaced over a four year period.

Miniature or hybrid polyantha roses:

The easiest of all to prune. Simply cut to a few centimetres above the grafting union, or, if ungrafted, just above the ground. Don't bother trying to look for suitable buds, but clean out all dead wood. Cuttings of these small roses will strike easily in moist sandy soil, often growing into better plants than grafted ones.

Shrub and other old-fashioned roses:

Remove weak or dead growth at any time. Prune lightly, but occasionally cut out some of the older branches from the base to prevent congestion.

Weeping standard rose trees:

Usually a floppy, rambling rose grafted on to the top of a two metre high standard. They are often mispruned dreadfully by people who think they should be converted into a stubby mini-skirt. The correct way is to thin out some of the long, arching canes, retaining the healthiest to weep to the ground. All weak, short canes should be cut out, plus any growth which wants to grow skywards. Twiggy sideshoots are best trimmed away. A correctly-pruned weeping standard rose tree is left with about a dozen or so canes trailing the ground and virtually all other growth removed.

All prunings and dead leaves should be raked up and either carted away or burned, in order to reduce sources of infection. The plants can then be sprayed with a fungicide such as Bordeaux mixture.

Categories: Garden And Landscaping