How to prune roses for beginners and get more flowers

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A beginners guide how to pruning roses.

Why do you need to prune your roses? It’s important to prune roses for 3 reasons. To remove and reduce disease or damage parts of the rose. Allows more air to circulate through the rose bush and lets more light into the center of the rose bush.

When to prune your roses

Roses should be pruned twice a year. Lightly prune in summer and your main pruning in winter after frosts have finished.

Your summer pruning is called dead heading and involves just snipping sent flowers a couple of centimetres below the flower. This encourages your roses to concentrate it’s energy in producing more flowers for a better display.

Winter pruning depends a lot on your climate. In temperate areas you can prune pretty well any time during winter. If you get frosts in winter your better off waiting until the frosts have finished to prune your roses.

What you need to prune your roses

You don’t need many tools to prune rose bushes. A pair of clean sharp Bypass secateurs, a pruning saw and a bucket for the off cuts is all you’ll need. A pair of gauntlet gloves and a heavy long sleeved shirt will save you from most thorns.

What are Bypass secateurs?

This is an example of Bypass secateurs

Be sure to clean your secateurs before cutting each of your roses so you don’t spread any disease from one rose to another. You can use your secateurs for any cane up to the thickness of your finger. For thicker canes use a pruning saw or long handle secateurs.

Always clean all you pruning clippings from around your roses to stop disease and thorny injuries. Clippings should be put in the rubbish bin to stop any disease from spreading.

How to prune your roses

Start by cutting any dead, diseased or woody canes. Next cut any canes that are crossing through the center of the bush. And lastly cut about a third of last years growth.

Cutting the dead,diseased and woody canes will give your roses more energy to produce more and better flowers. Cross canes should be cut out as they can cause damage to your rose bush and reduce the air circulation. When you cut back last years growth, you encourage a stronger bushier rose bush. Every few years cut your rose bush back severely to rejuvenate new growth.

Always cut about a centimetre above an outward growing bud as below. Some people believe you should cut your rose canes at a 45 degree angle, but this isn’t necessary. Cut woody or dead canes down until you come to a green stem.

Cut any suckers from around the base root stock as these will sap growing power from your rose bush.

You can seal your pruned rose bush with glue or chemicals, but healthy rose bushes will heal themselves.

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After pruning care

Mulching is required after you prune your roses. This will help retain moisture and allow slow release of rose food. Only put enough mulch to cover the ground, ideally 3-5cm, any more and the mulch will absorb all the moisture leaving none for your roses.

Never use pebbles or rocks for rose mulch as this will heat up the ground and have the opposite effect the mulch is being used for. Avoid using eucalyptus or pine needle mulches as these change the soils acidity and may eventually kill your roses.

Hose down your mulch so it settles into place around your roses.

Mulch depth should be 3-5 cm

Yes, you need to feed your roses after you prune them. After mulching allow a couple of weeks before fertilizing your rose bush. Rose food can be bought from any decent gardening center.

Pruning climbing roses

Climbing roses are easy to prune as you can prune them severely and they will come back.

Cut them back to the main cane and maybe 2 or 3 others. This will stop the climbers becoming a tangled mess.

Getting more flowers

By looking after your rose buses and following the tips discussed here you will enjoy healthy and beautiful flowering roses for many years.

How to prune roses for beginners

For those beginners who are afraid of damaging their rose bush, please have a go at pruning. Roses are a hardy plant and can take a fair bit of punishment, they bounce back from most issues.


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