Well-pruned roses: When pruning your roses, systematically remove all dead, diseased, stunted, damaged or broken wood. The pruning wound should be very white. If it is brown, cut slightly lower down into living stems. Remove any stems that rub together, cross over each other or look as if they are likely to cross in the future.
Aim for open growth: Open up the centre of the plant as much as possible and cut off any suckers growing below the graft union, removing them at the stem. Retain only healthy stems and cut them back to a good length for the shape of your bush.
When to prune: You can prune your roses between the end of winter and early spring, even if the plant has already started to sprout some small new leaves. Don’t worry about removing some new growth these shoots will grow back even better.
Pruning Standard roses: To preserve a well-balanced shape in the first year, prune two-thirds of all the main stems in the crown and remove any excess stems in the centre. In subsequent years, remove secondary stems level with the main stems and trim the others to half their original length.
- Slope the angle of the cut away from the bud (the high side of the cut should be above the bud) to prevent water from collecting in the bud and causing it to rot. Leave at least 5mm between the bud eye and the cut to avoid damaging it.
- Prune weeping standards lightly and not until after they have flowered.
Encouraging growth along the right lines: Look closely at a rose stem and you will see that the buds are alternately arranged along its length. When pruning a rose, make an angled cut just above a bud that faces in the direction you wish the shoot to grow. Normally this will be an outfacing bud — pruning to one of these opens up the centre of the rose bush and allows in light and air.
Deadheading: Spent blooms look unsightly and provide a refuge for pests. Remove them daily or as soon as possible.
- Large-flowered roses: Cut off spent flower heads just below the second pair of leaves, level with an opening bud.
- Cluster-flowered roses: Remove individual flowers just beneath the corolla as they fade. Then when all the flowers have died, cut off the whole cluster following the instructions for large-flowered roses.
- Spectacular new blooms: Deadheading in the correct way for your type of rose gives the stems a new burst of energy. The bud nearest to where you cut off the bloom will develop and produce new flowers.
- Prevent hips forming: Unless the hips are particularly, attractive, do not allow them to form as they will divert vital energy away from the plant and will prevent the formation of further flowers that season.
Suckers are stems that grow from the plant base beneath the graft union. A sucker tends to be bright green and has seven leaves. These shoots are from the rootstock, so are different from the rose you are growing. Remove them or they will drain the rose’s energy to the detriment of the rest of the plant.
1. Dig care-fully around the
base of the rose with a
spade to uncover the point
where the sucker is
attached. This will be
beneath the graft union.
3. Carefully replace the
earth and water well.
Keep a close watch on your
rose so that you can take
action if another sucker
begins to grow.
2. Cut the sucker as close
as possible to the stem
from which it is growing,
taking care not to damage
the stem. Never remove
suckers from above ground.