Pruning removes diseased and dead stems and canes and reduces the overall size of the plant.
What you’ll need:
– Gloves (preferably something tough like leather, for thorn protection)
– A pair of clean, sharp secateurs (pruning shears)
– A narrow-blade saw, one that curves slightly so that you can get into the crowded interior of the rose bush
– Lime sulphur for clean up.
– A good sprayer for applying the lime sulphur
Pruning rose bushes doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Rose bushes need to be pruned in a special way, so make pruning more efficient.
Use these tested tips:
1. Begin by cutting out any weak, spindly, criss-crossing or dead stems.
2. Then, if it’s an established bush, look critically at the stems and remove some of the oldest. This can be done by sawing the old, dark brown stems off cleanly at their base.
3. Cut remaining stems back to a few buds above where last year’s growth began. The topmost bud that remains after pruning should be facing outwards. New growth will come from this bud, so it’s important that it heads in a good direction.
4. Look out for any water shoots – these are an olive green or even pink colour – and are absolutely essential. Take care of the water shoots because these are the young growth and this is where the rose will have its flowers. Just prune it lightly, so it will shoot out and produce more flowers.
5. Complete any tidying up that’s necessary. Does the remaining wood seem healthy and vigorous? Is the centre of the bush nice and open so that the sun and air can get right into it? Remove the clippings and prunings from the garden. Clear them up. Don’t put them into the compost, but into the rubbish bin. This stops the spread of disease.
6. Spray the whole rose, and the soil beneath the bush, with lime sulphur. This will help to remove any rose scale from the stems and also destroy fungal spores that are lingering in the soil.
7. Renew a good layer of organic mulch over the root area, taking care to avoid direct contact with the rose’s trunk. Wait till the last frosts are over before feeding the roses.
8. Fertilise about three weeks after you’ve pruned.