Get tough with the pruning
Time to prune rosa rugosa, apples and pears. Expert
These hardy shrubs make a statement in the winter garden with their clusters of vibrant red berries and evergreen leaves to provide year-round interest. Red tinted flower buds of Skimmia japonica on a frosty winter’s morning look stunning in the border or in pots, which develop into white or pink-tinted spring flowers. Red fruits are borne on female plants so you’ll need to plant a male and a female together, or a hermaphrodite such as reevesiana if you want berries. I love rosa rugosa but it does tend to look a bit straggly at this time of year, a good prune will get it in order and will keep it flowering well for most of the summer.
Robust and disease free, teamed with thorny stems makes rosa rugosa a good plant choice for any garden and also excellent hedging material.
They are not grafted on to the roots of wild roses, like other roses, but have their own roots. Suckers, unlike with other roses should be left to add to the bulk of the hedge.
When it comes to pruning you can be pretty tough with rugosas, pruning the whole hedge down by a half if it is growing too tall, as they will produce flowers from new growth as well as old.
Also, keep your apples and pears fruiting and flowering well with a winter prune, which can be done between November and early March.
The aim is to open up the framework so the air can circulate and the light can get in to ripen the fruit.
Start by removing any dead, damaged, diseased, crossing and weak branches then shorten the previous years growth on each main branch by one third to an outward facing bud.
Leave any young lateral side shoots unpruned so in the second year they can develop fruit buds.
If the tree hasn’t been pruned for a while you can spread any major pruning over a couple of winters, the first prune should be removing larger branches in the centre right back to their point of origin. The seed supplier emails are coming in thick and fast at the moment with some good deals. Take five minutes to get your orders in before the deadlines to take advantage of any offers and you’ll have your seeds all ready at hand to sow when you need them.
Rugosa is robust and makes excellent hedging material