PRUNING roses helps to remove dead or diseased parts of the flower, which will keep the buds blossoming and looking healthy.
But when should you prune your roses – and what is the best way to do it?
When is the best time to prune roses?
The majority of rose pruning is best done in the spring, after the last frost.
Frosts are a good guide to rose pruning, because spring pruning needs to be done after the last frost, and autumn pruning before the first frost.
Roses are happiest and give the best results if you do the bulk of your pruning when the new growth is just beginning.
It is hard to predict when this will be, because it is very dependent on your climate.
It’s most accurate to say late winter or early spring, but this may vary from January to as late as May.
Maintenance pruning needs to be done at other times of the year.
For instance, rose bushes keep a better shape and may even bloom again if you cut back dead flowers, known as dead heading.
Then in the autumn, prepare your roses for winter by trimming any very tall stems, removing stems that grow across others, and taking out any dead or diseased branches.
What do you need to prune roses?
People often recommend a tool called bypass shears for pruning roses, because they have overlapping blades which cut cleanly through the tough stems.
Gauntlet-style strong gloves are a must, as every rose does indeed have at least one thorn, and these gloves protect right up to your elbows.
It’s also worth covering the rest of your arm with long sleeves of a fabric that is tough enough to prevent those thorns coming through.
Clothing with a smooth finish is a good idea – anything that the thorn can’t get stuck into, or you’ll be caught in a bush.
How do I prune roses?
1. Watch for the last frost.
2. Remove any remaining leaves – they will take any surviving pests with them.
3. Cut out any dead branches right back to the base. You will know which branches are dead as they will be brown right through.
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4. Take out any stems that grow across the plant.
5. Remove any stems that are thinner than a pencil.
6. Cut the remaining stems to the length you desire. Remember to snip just above the nodule where a leaf does or will meet the stem, and at a 45 degree angle such the rainwater falls away from the bud.
In this last step, try to keep the buds which are facing outwards so your plant has clean lines and space at the centre.
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