Sabrina Hahn: Expert rose pruning tips to care for rose bushes this winter
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Roses have had a fair hammering from chilli thrips over the past two years and some have not survived the journey.
Last summer was brutal, and I’m predicting that will be the same for many summers to come. For those who are left with roses, it is still better to prune them than not, anytime from June to August depending on how cold your winters are.
If you live in an area that gets frosts, leave rose pruning until the end of August. You don’t want new growth burnt by frost as these will be your new flowering stems.
The one important exception to pruning a rose at this time of the year is the non-repeat flowering roses that flower only in spring — do not prune these in winter as you are pruning off all the flowering stems.
After pruning, remove any leaves still on the bush and spray with a copper or lime sulphur spray to kill off mites and fungal spores. The bush should look clean and have outward-facing stems that are pruned off just above an outward-facing bud.
Hybrid tea roses
Prune every branch back by 50 per cent. Prune off all the older stems at ground level and take out any stems that are in the middle of the bush. With the secateurs, prune back all but five stems to an outward-facing bud, leaving only one branch coming off that, again to an outward-facing bud. Spray with a copper or lime sulphur spray to reduce overwintering fungal spores.
Shrub roses: David Austin and English roses
Prune back the whole bush by one-third and the stems that are growing in the middle of the bush. Remove any dead wood at the base of the plant and any branches that are more than three years old. Cut back remaining stems at ground level until there are no more than nine stems emerging from the ground. Prune back remaining branches to an outward-facing bud. Spray with a copper or lime sulphur spray to reduce overwintering fungal spores.
These are pruned as hybrid tea roses but take one-third off rather than one half, and you can leave more stems coming from the base.
These are just hybrid tea or floribunda roses that are grafted on a long stem. It is very important to prune these each year to decrease the weight of the head. You prune it as for hybrid tea roses and remove any growth that sprouts below the graft. Make sure it is equally balanced with even branching on all sides.
Weeping standard roses
Remove at least 50 per cent of the oldest canes from the very base of the standard. Prune off all the side shoots from the remaining canes but do not shorten them. Stand back and check if you need to remove any more canes. The remaining canes should have all the side shoots pruned off to just above ground level. Spray with a copper or lime sulphur spray to reduce overwintering fungal spores.
Remove one-third of the oldest canes at the base of the plant. You can remove the oldest canes once they are a few years old to encourage new watershoots. Prune back the side shoots coming off these canes to two buds. Remove any twiggy or thin growth. Tie remaining canes in a curved horizontal position to encourage more flowering stems. Spray with a copper or lime sulphur spray to reduce overwintering fungal spores.
Tip: Climbing roses don’t need pruning for the first few years — just train the canes where you want them to grow
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