Pruning Roses

Many climbing roses are climbing forms of bush roses. None of them strictly climb, but long whippy stems need to be tied in if grown against a wall. The vigorous, long growths of rambling roses can be tricky to train on a wall around windows and doors, but they can be effectively grown through trees and left untended for many years. In general, all of these need some pruning from time to time, and for healthy plants this should be every year.

When and How to Prune Roses

Many climbing roses are repeat flowering, while most ramblers flower only once. Pruning is carried out in autumn, but in cold regions this can be delayed to early spring just before the buds start expanding. The reason for this is that some roses may experience winter damage, and leaving on the old wood protects the dormant buds lower down the plant. If theses stems are pruned too hard in autumn, the buds may be stimulated and damaged. Pruning in mid summer may stimulate young growth that is too soft to withstand the rigours of winter. Pruning too late in the spring (after bud break) will delay flowering, although further pruning can be carried out after the first flush to encourage later flowers and new growth.

Pratical Tips:

  • Use only sharp tools to achieve clean cuts, because blunt blades bruise rose wood easily, encouraging disease.
  • Donít leave snags below the pruning cuts.
  • Prune in autumn or winter in mild areas.
  • Pruning after buds break delays flowering.
  • Deadhead roses to prolong flowering, especially climbers.
  • Stop pinching growth after late summer to prevent stimulation of late, frost-prone growth.
  • Fertilize roses well after pruning, spreading manure (composted for 12 months) as a mulch over the root area.
  • Diseased foliage and wood should be burned or otherwise disposed of.
  • Keep the ground under roses clear of fallen leaves in autumn in order to discourage unsightly blackspot and other diseases.
  • Look out for suckers, which usually shoot from below the ground, and try to pull them off. Theses grow from the vigorous rootstock and will weaken the main plant if allowed to grow.
  • Do not fertilizer past the first week of August
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