Pruning Roses in Winter – 3 Easy steps
With so much written about how to prune roses it can become a little confusing at times. Some of the detailed instructions relate to the Northern hemisphere and are to really that applicable to Australia. So lets look at rose pruning basics.
Firstly we are looking at the modern roses, climbing roses and some of the ‘old world’ varieties need to be treated differently.
The main time to prune roses in Australia is in winter when they are dormant, or semi dormant. And this is a factor, in our warmer climate rose do not always go completly dormant in winter.
How to Prune Roses – The Basic Steps
Many gardeners worry that they might damage or kill a rose, mainly due to all of the misinformation, so follow these basic steps for a simple pruning method.
- Remove any dead or damaged wood.
- Prune away any wood that is less than a pencil in thickness
- Prune back the remaining growth by 30% to 50%
You will need to prune back to buds, however try not to fuss about outward facing ones. A few crossover branches will not be a problem.
The images below show supplied by Rankins Roses show the process.
- Do not open up the middle of the plant in a vase shape or worry too much about crossing over branches.
- Modern roses are very vigorous and when grown in the correct position and looked after well, willl re-shoot & grow better with plant material left inside the framework than if it is cut out in the vase shape.
How to Prune Old Roses to rejunenate them
- Every 3 to 5 years you may need to prune a little harder
- If your rose bush is looking terribly woody and too many branches, you can prune right back some of the old very thick branches with a saw.
- This will to reduce the excess wood and encourage new water shoots.
Pruning shoots from the understock.
Nearly all modern roses are grafted, and sometines the rose will shoot from below the graft.
Watch for shoots from below the graft, or look for different foliage and even different flowers.
Understocks are usually Dr Hueyor or Multiflora. Dr Hueyor has deep red cluster type flowers while Multiflora has white cluster type flowers.
If you see a water shoot reach around 2 – 3 metres in a week or two weeks it is most likely from below the graft. These need to be pruned right back flush to the stem or roots.