Although here in hubpages there are already plenty of hubs about pruning I want to raise this subject one more time. Particularly I wish to summarize information about rose pruning. I have a couple of rose bushes in my front yard and the necessity to prune them every year gave birth to my interest to this subject.
First let’s talk about what kind of equipment is needed for pruning roses. Double or single-bladed pruning shears are going to be definitely needed, as well as sturdy gloves and loopers. If you have shrub roses pruning saws will also come in handy, plus a pruning knife to trim the edges around rough cuts.
Roses slightly differ from each others, but basic pruning principles may apply to all roses – bushes, shrubs, climbing or rambling roses.
Bush roses include several varieties: Hybrid teas, Floribundas, Polyanthas, Miniatures. Hybrid teas group is famous for species like: “American Pride”, “Tiffany”, “Fragrant Cloud”… They can reach up to 4 feet height and has large, elegant flowers, one or few per stem. Floribundas and Polyanthas are smaller bushes, about 2 feet tall with duster flowering. Popular examples of these types are “Angel Face”, “Iceberg”, and “Cecile.” Miniatures like “Angel Darling”, “Popcorn”, and “Gold Coin” are really small bushes up to 12 inches with small, mostly doubled flowers.
The best time to prune most types of roses is spring, when buds begin to swell. First check dead and old unproductive stems. Cut them to the point where they meet a healthy branch. Prune all part of a stem that is diseased above a bud on a healthy wood. Cutting weak, thin stems will be good for development of new flowering shoots. Then cut stems that cross or rub, removing the weaker of the two. Roses are pruned to maintain a well-shaped plant with vigorous steams and many flowers.
Hybrid Teas roses may grow high and sometimes need harder pruning to maintain the optimal height. In the fall, trim the top growth of bush roses to prevent damaging from high wind.
Shrub roses are medium to large shrubs about 3-7 feet and are often used as a hedging. Most of them require only light pruning. Most old garden roses flower on shoots of the previous season, so prune them lightly, tipping the main shoots after flowering. In these groups some species produce showy hips which shouldn’t be deadheaded.
Climbers and ramblers are scrambling, tall shrubs about 10-25 feet. Climbers roses usually don’t send new shoots from the base, they flower on old wood. In the early spring take off old woods, cutting it back to strong new growth. In the summer, after climber has flowered, prune them again. Don’t let hips form; they drain the energy from the plant. Pruning ramblers may be difficult because of their tangling canes. Flowers are produced on last year's stems. Cut back all the shoots that have flowered to one or two buds from the main stem. If left without pruning rambling roses may become a tangled mess of branches with very few flowers. So don’t be afraid to prune them hard, they will recover fast.
Despite of some differences between types of roses three basic steps apply to all of them:
- Remove dead and diseased stems, cutting back to above a bud on healthy wood.
- Remove weak and thin stems, because they take away strength from plant, but are unlikely to produce flowers. Cut back to a joint with a strong growing stem.
- Find stems that cross or rub and cut off the least vigorous of them.
Two types of cuts are used in pruning. When removing a whole stem cut close to base, then trim off stumps.
To shorten a stem cut above an outward-facing growth bud. This will prevent the center of the bush from being cluttered by crisscrossing stems.
Correct and regular pruning benefits the health and appearance of the roses.