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Knowing when to prune roses is perhaps one of the most commonlquestions our customers ask and rightly so, as pruning at the correct time of year can make all the difference between a healthy rose that produces many buds and flowers and one that might not reach its full potential.


Between February and early March is the perfect time to prune roses just before new growth begins.


Watch our video, below, on how to prune roses; presented by Kate Brophy, our resident Rose Expert at Fryer's Garden Centre.

Commonly asked Pruning Questions and Answers

What is pruning?
Pruning sounds "technical", but is simply cutting back the stems of the plant.


Why do roses need pruning?
We prune to remove unproductive growth and to make way for fresh new basal shoots.


Is it necessary to prune every year?
Yes the roses will benefit, they will grow stronger, better and therefore healthier.


When should I prune?
The best time to prune is immediately after winter has ended -usually end of February or early March.


Should I cut anything back in the autumn?
Yes the bushes will benefit from being shortened in the autumn, about half way back, to "tidy" them up and to prevent them being loosened in the wind.


Pruning New Planted Roses
Prune Bush Roses and Standard Roses back to 3-4 inches, Climbing Roses back to 5-6 inches

Pruning Established Roses

Bush, Patio & Standard Roses:
Start by cutting out all the dead wood and weak growth. To make way for new growth, remove at the base any old exhausted stems that are no longer usefully productive. Prune back the remaining stems to 4-5 inches, ensuring the cut is clean and sloping.


Climbing Roses:
To encourage the plant to establish a good root system prune back to 5-6 inches the first spring after planting. Climbing roses can take 18 months or longer to establish, although this timescale can be reduced by regular watering and liquid feeding. This is particularly important for climbers growing on a sheltered south orwest facing wall where the soil may dry out quite quickly.


First season's growth may only be weak and spindly and this should be removed at the base the following spring. Any strong basal growth that is produced, probably mid-late summer onwards, needs only to be shortened by 25-30% at pruning time. A rough guide is generally any stem less than a good finger thickness can be treated as weak. When pruning after the first season any strong shoots can be trained and tied. For best results the stems should be trained laterally in a fan shape taking care not to break any shoots. This will have the effect of producing more flowers along the stems. In subsequent years all weak growth and dead wood should be removed altogether and strong shoots reduced by 25-30%.

After three or four seasons, the original basal growths may begin to look old and woody. At this stage it is quite likely that they have ceased to become usefully productive and should be completely removed at the base in order to make way for new prolific growth. Pruning climbers can often be a daunting task especially when having to decide which growth to completely take out, but it should be remembered that any stems that are removed should be more than adequately replenished with fresher, stronger and more productive new growth later in the season.


Rambling Roses:
Pruning a Rambler is slightly more complicated because Ramblers flower on their previous year's growth. They are best either left to ramble or, immediately after flowering, remove stems that have borne flowers, leaving the newly produced growth to flower the following year. Whatever method is used, all dead wood, weak spindly growth and old unproductive stems should be removed annually.


Shrub Roses:
If required, Shrubs can be allowed to grow freely and reach their full potential, but weak and dead wood should be removed regularly, together with any old unproductive stems from the base. If growth needs to be controlled, stems can be reduced accordingly.

English Roses and Ground Cover Roses:
Both groups will benefit from pruning. First, remove all dead and weak growth together with any old unproductive stems from the base. Shorten all remaining growth by 50%.

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