Pruning Roses

Rose in Crambe cordifolia

Early spring pruning of roses is getting going now. Growth is kicking off and frosts are on the decline. Unlike the rain. Why do we prune roses? It’s just helping along the plants natural growth habitat of flowering best on healthy young wood, the older branches losing vigour and slowly dying off. A sober message to us all.

Types of Roses

There are a bewildering array of types of roses. Hybrid teas and floribundas, ramblers, climbers and shrubs, polyantha, patio and ground cover. Ground cover roses, bred by people who have never done a days weeding in their life should be made a criminal offence (by the way).

There is a right and wrong way to prune roses.

How to Prune a Rose

Six buds from the base? Tying in 6 ft whippy new growth? Felco secateurs or a quick once over with a hedge cutter? Depends on the type of rose. Not sure what type of rose you have, just look to see where last years blooms flowered and prune to encourage that age of stem. Try and picture it on a three year growth cycle……

I was taught to prune at 6 buds from the base, but this was only good for hybrid teas, beloved of public parks and village flower shows where the biggest and best bloom was the only goal. Having a rose as a flowering shrub in its own right, rather than all about the first prize bloom became more of thing with the popularity of shrub roses bred by David Austin. These old fashioned shrubs with complex flowers, good disease resistance and outstanding fragrance became the new benchmark. Taller, more informal than the hard pruned hybrid teas, these shrub roses flower best on side shoots of a more mature framework rather than the vigorous annual growth of the hybrid teas and floribundas. They are therefore pruned to a more mature framework, flowering on side shoots off mature stems. Rather like shrubby climbers. Its the ramblers that can be problematic, as pruning back the long whippy growth can often mean cutting off the best flowers for the year. Problem beasts especially when planted on pergolas and trellis that don’t provide enough space.

Rose pruning and training carried out by Gareth and the garden team as part of the year round regular garden maintenance.  Quite pinky and peachy at the moment, but whatever the colour, they have to be fragrant