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Roses are hands-down the most poetic blossoms and they present some of the most exquisite vegetation in any garden. Well-pruned roses are more “immune” to disease, promote air circulation, and result in larger, opulent flowers. Left unpruned, they will still bloom, but with a rather unkempt look and we all know how great a well-maintained garden looks.
If you are having second thoughts about pruning, then don’t. Even if you are not an experienced gardener, you can still achieve beautiful results! That is exactly why we’ve created this guide for anyone in Australia who wants to learn how to skilfully prune their roses.
Roses need pruning at least twice a year, but the essential pruning happens in late winter. For Australia, the best time is June-July. However, if you live in colder areas, you can wait until later in August.
If the mornings are still frosty, it’s better to delay pruning. This way you will be promoting better air circulation and avoid tender rose growth so that the frost doesn’t destroy the new shoots. Summer pruning, on the other hand, is more straightforward – you have to snip off the spent flowers a couple of centimetres below their blossom. Don’t shy away from the scissors – well-done pruning will result in excellent, substantial new growth in spring.
Cutting back roses is not a unified process and it probably won’t be a surprise to know that different types need different approaches to pruning. They have a reputation for being difficult to maintain, yet correct watering and pruning will result in abundant healthy bushes. So, let’s get started!
Now that you’ve got all the equipment ready, it is time to get to work. Like we’ve mentioned before, the most suitable time for pruning roses in Australia is winter. Therefore, the tips you see below are specifically for winter pruning of standard type of roses.
To promote novice rose growing and encourage them to put out a second flush late in summer, you should do regular deadheading. It’s a simple and straightforward process – take the flower bud and cut it to the node beneath it. That will tidy up the plant nicely and stop the rose from producing unwanted seeds and wasting energy.
The essential thing you need to know when pruning climbing roses, is to distinguish the main cane and the lateral cane. The main cane grows from the plant’s base, and the side shoots or lateral cane grow off the main rods. You might have figured by now you shouldn’t cut off the main canes but only the laterals. Make sure to remove a third of the oldest bat at the base of the plant.
With climbing roses it’s important to train them by weaving or tying new canes together to a supporting structure – wall or a fence. Climbing roses are a perfect fit for the Australian home with trellises in their garden. At the end of the day, the blossoms have to climb with support by a frame.
The perfect scenario is to leave only one main branch, so check the base of the plant for really old, thick wood. Remove it entirely with the sharp blade – it will promote a younger, healthier stem growth. If you’ve left your roses unpruned, then a radical cut can do miracles to open up the structure and promote good air circulation. Otherwise, the rule of thumb is to reduce the bush’s height by a third or a half.
If you feel reluctant to take out the blades and start pruning your weeping rose, then your instincts are right! Unlike other types of rose, the weeping kinds perform best when they’re left unpruned. Still, if you feel like you need to provide some maintenance, stick to deadheading and just light trimming here and there when necessary.
If you don’t prune your roses, it will result in poor blossoms, weird-looking stems and unpleasant appearance. Moreover, your flowers might get fungi or produce unhealthy growth. Disregarding the process will also result in dehydration with dead and soggy, blackish canes.
However, intentional and well-done cutting will accelerate the development of higher quality blossoms. If you skip it, you will notice that old stems have short twiggy shoots and the plant loses its vigour.
Rose pruning didn’t go as planned? We can help!
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