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To help ensure your garden looks its best next year, winter is always a good time to prune roses. Pruning should be carried out once a year to keep rose plants flourishing, and encourage new blooms to grow.
When should you prune roses?
Winter is regarded as the best season to prune most types of roses, so you may be able to prune roses in November or December.
However Gardeners’ World state rambling roses should be pruned in the summer, immediately after they have flowered.
February to March is considered a good time for pruning roses, but optimum pruning time will depend on what variety of rose you are growing.
How to prune roses
With most types of newly planted roses, you should aim to prune extensively to encourage new shoots to grow.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) offers some tips on how to prune roses online.
The RHS advise when pruning roses cuts should be no more than ¼ inch (5mm) above a bud, and “should slope downwards away from it, so that water does not collect on the bud”.
The RHS adds: “Cut to an outward-facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape.
“With roses of spreading habit, prune some stems to inward-facing buds to encourage more upright growth.”
If you can’t see a dormant bud on a stem, cut the stem to the appropriate height and ensure the cuts are clean with sharp secateurs.
Other pruning tips include to cut out the “dead and diseased stems and crossing stems” and prune the dieback to “healthy white pith”.
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When pruning roses you want to aim for stems to have space, as this encourages air circulation.
You should also trace suckers back to the roots as part of the pruning process and pull them away.
If there are no new buds on old wood, and there isn’t a good chance of any new buds developing, you may want to saw it.
The RHS adds: “On established roses, cut out poorly flowering old wood and saw away old stubs that have failed to produce new shoots.”
When pruning roses, make sure you have the right equipment for the job.
You may need secateurs, pruning shears, loppers and a pruning saw.
You may want to consider a good pair of gloves suited to this purpose, to protect your forearms from thorns.
Long thick sleeves designed for gardening can also help to protect your arms, and you should consider other protections like eyewear, a hat and jacket.
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