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When and how to prune garden roses

Pruning climbing roses, stem roses and shrub roses helps keep their shape. More pruning results in fresher growth, and more and bigger flowers! For garden roses, there are two types of pruning: spring pruning and maintenance pruning.

Rejuvenation treatment

In March, rejuvenate garden roses by pruning them back. Be sure to use clean sharp tools. Start by completely pruning away dead, thin and damaged branches. Cut the remaining branches back to 5 to 7 centimetres above the soil (shrub roses), ocular site (stem roses, which is the thickened node where branching begins) or main branches (climbing roses). Don’t be too cautious; fresh new branches will soon start growing again. After pruning, mix a handful of organic fertiliser through the top layer of soil around the rose.

Summer and autumn

Next up is maintenance or topiary pruning in summer. You can choose to cut away spent roses all the time, so that all the energy then goes to new buds and your rose will flower continuously. You could also prune – if your rose loses its shape – long branches back by half. Although this means you sometimes sacrifice some flowers, you will be rewarded with a second flowering. Why not display cut roses in a nice jug or vase, or make fragrant potpourri out of them! Autumn is the best time to reshape shrub roses. Do not prune any lower than knee height, so that your garden rose will be strong when winter arrives.

Did you know that…

  • Roses that aren’t pruned regularly will have more and more dead branches and insufficient light and air to grow nicely?
  • You should prune back shrub roses every 2-3 years to 5-7 centimetres above the ground?
  • Botanical or wild roses do not need pruning at all? Only prune these roses if they grow too big.
  • If you want rose hips, you should not deadhead your roses?

Example of how to prune roses 1 Example of how to prune roses 2 Example of how to prune roses 3

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