Many people are hesitant about pruning roses, considering the task to be difficult and complicated. The best time to prune roses is normally during February or early March. To get the most out of your roses, keep the following general pruning tips in mind:
- Cuts should be no more than 5mm above a bud and should slope away from it to allow water to run off the cut surface and reduce the risk of stem rotting.
- New shoots will grow in the direction a bud is pointing so cut to an outward facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape which reduces chances of disease.
- Use sharp, clean secateurs or loppers to make a clean cut without splitting the stems or leaving jagged wounds that may allow fungal diseases to enter.
- Cut out dead, diseased, spindly and crossing stems and prune dieback until you reach healthy white wood.
- Remove any suckers pulling them, rather than cutting them, off the rootstock or the root.
- Bush roses which include hybrid tea, floribunda and patio roses are generally pruned hardest, cutting stems to three or four buds above last year’s cut.
- Cut the stems of shrub and English roses like the popular David Austin varieties by around one-third depending on how tall you want the rose to grow in that position. The objective is to maintain an attractive shapely, balanced framework of flowering stems.
- After pruning, make sure to clean up the surrounding area underneath. All leaves and cut branches should be disposed of as diseases and pests could be lurking.