PETER CUNDALL says almost all rose plants thrive on being pruned back in winter, but different varieties respond to specific techniques
Winter pruning will ensure rosy results
When badly-congested, neglected plants are properly pruned, it can sometimes be a brutal liberation. By removing dead, diseased or badly-placed branches and suckers which have become a dead weight, we liberate them. Luckily, the bare branches of roses in winter make it easier to see what we’re doing.
Almost all rose plants thrive on being pruned in winter, but different rose varieties respond best to specific techniques and luckily they are all easy.
It’s difficult to make a mistake because virtually all rose bushes, climbers and standards respond strongly to even the most clumsy attempts at pruning.
Large-flowered and cluster-flowered bush roses are the most popular. They are still described as hybrid tea and floribunroses da in most nursery catalogues.
To prune, start at the bottom and cut out all whiskery, twiggy material near the ground. This includes suckers which always arise from below graft-unions.
Next prune out dead branches plus any old, woody branches which have lost vigour.
Snip off weak, spindly shoots. Most produce long, vigorous and slightly soft water-shoots which are basically new branches. They are best left unpruned apart from removing old flower heads or seed pods.
Finally, cut back all remaining healthy branches by about a third. Job done!
Standard roses are bush roses grafted to the top of long, high stems, so are pruned the same way. Keep in mind that graft-unions are a metre above the ground and never prune below these – apart from sucker removal.
Patio roses are just half-sized bush roses and most can be pruned quite hard – by at least half – and older branches cut
By removing dead, diseased or badly-placed branches and suckers which have become a dead weight, we liberate them