Roses are mainly pruned to encourage new growth and open up the centre of the bush to allow for better air circulation and remove older wood. Aside from shaping the bush, pruning is also done for disease and pest control and to force dormancy in warmer climates.
If you haven’t pruned a rose before, there is no need to worry as there is very little you can do to harm it this way. But it’s always helpful to know the right way to do things in order to be more and successful in pruning this beauty.
Before you start pruning, you should determine first the type of rose you have and how it blooms, as this will affect both your timing and technique.
If you aren’t sure, check the tag at the base of the main stem which should give you the name of the rose variety, then you can easily look up the type. If there isn’t any tag, try to observe when the rose blooms so you can determine when it should be pruned.
The best time to prune repeat bloomers such as hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, and polyantha is just before the leaf buds begin to burst, in late winter or early spring.
While single bloomers such as antique roses and shrub roses should be pruned after they finish blooming in late spring or summer.
Pruning in different times of the year have their corresponding benefits: Fall – to prevent wind breakage, whipping, and scarring by long canes; Spring – to correct any problems with the overall form or reduce the height if they’re outgrowing their space; Summer – to prevent seed hip formation, encourage new blooms, and keep the shrub attractive.
It’s always helpful to be prepared before starting your pruning job. Get your tools ready by sharpening, cleaning, and disinfecting them as necessary.
Some of the common tools used for rose pruning are hand bypass pruner, lopper, and pruning saw. A pair of gloves and a large bin for your clippings will also come in handy.
A sharp pair of pruning shears is the most common tool you’ll need when pruning roses. You will find that there are 2 types of pruners, bypass and anvil.
It is recommended to use bypass to make a clean cut, as opposed to anvil which squeezes down and breaks by compression.
Your rose bush would want a clean and sharp cut rather than crushing its tissue
As a general rule, you should prune out all canes thinner than a pencil in diameter on hybrid teas, shrub roses, and climbers.
Clean debris such as grass and leaves away from the plant as these may harbor insects and diseases.
Prune to shape and remove dead wood, and worn out, weak, spent canes. Typically, new growth about the diameter of your thumb in size makes the best canes.
Remember that if the branch is about 1.5 inches or larger, it’s best to remove it. Open the bush up by removing branches that cross through the center. Cut off thin canes and branches that rub against each other. Only keep the green healthy canes.
Pruning cuts must always be made just above a bud eye. "Bud eye" is the area on the stem where branching occurs. It's easy to figure out where to prune in the summer since you just need to cut right above a set of mature leaves.
On dormant or older canes, it’s a bit more difficult to look for the bud eye, but you should find it just above the crescent-shaped leaf scars along the stem. Remember to always prune to a healthy bud. Make sure to cut just above the bud, not too close or too far away. If you cut it too closely, the bud can be damaged, if you cut too far away, you can have die back and possible disease.
Make a 45-degree slanted cut just above an outward-facing bud eye. The cut should always slant away from the bud.
This will ensure that the new growth is directed away from the centre of the plant. With a slanted cut, water will be prevented from accumulating in the wound and help expedite healing.
This involves the removal of faded flowers before they can develop seed.
This practice is best for more vigorous plants and repeat bloomers.
There are 2 ways on how to deadhead your roses: 5-leaf Junction Method - cutting the flower stem back to an outward-facing bud above a five-leaf junction; and Twist and Snap Method - simply hold the old spent bloom and with a quick wrist action, snap it off.
A well cared for pruning tool will return the favor with years of good service. It also guarantees a smooth clean cut and prevents the spread of diseases among plants.
If your pruning tool did not accumulate much dirt, simply wipe it with a dry and clean cloth. For dirty tools, clean them in warm water with mild soap using a gentle brush. For those with sap and sticky substances, use light alcohol solution in a soft cloth.
For pruning tools used in diseased plants, disinfect it in 10% bleach solution. Dry your tools quickly after cleaning to prevent rust.
I hope you have learned some great ideas and tips on how best to prune your roses for beautiful blooms!
If you’re looking to buy quality pruning tools, be sure to check out our Haus & Garten Store, there you'll find more information about our products, plus videos that demonstrate them in action.
Thanks for reading!