Saturday, 2 July 2016

Rose Pruning

The purpose of rose pruning is to create stronger and healthier bushes. With the Coffs Coast climate it mainly provides roses time to rest and recover along with tidying up the older wood within the bush - unlike colder climates where pruning is necessary to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

It is extremely important to remember that most rose advice is written for Mediterranean and cold climates. A general rule of thumb for the Coffs Coast is to prune on the last weekend in July which is the 8th week of winter. However, if you wish to have a flower flush at a certain time (or occasion), this will determine just when you should prune your bushes. To obtain this flush, prune 75 to 80 days prior to the event for floribundas, minifloras and minis and 60 days ahead for hybrid teas and shrub roses. Spring flowering roses (those that do not repeat flower) are pruned after they have flowered in late spring.

One thing to remember is that during summer it is best not to hard prune your roses as this can lead to sunburn on your plants, which in severe cases can result in plant death. You might like to do a prune in the first two weeks of autumn after most of the heat has passed. This will be really only a long deadheading of flower stems rather than a 'prune' per se. This is beneficial as it will bring a new flush in autumn for the last hurrah blooms of the season. 

Roses need to be monitored closely to remove any weakened or non-producing stems. Remove blind shoots from the bush unless they are thick as a pencil in which case they can be pruned to a fresh side bud along the stem. A new flower shoot will grow from this bud. You will see very useful illustrations of pruning in this Pruning Guide PDF - just increase the size so you can see the diagrams clearly.

As with all pruning tasks around the garden it is imperative that you have your equipment scrupulously clean and SHARP! Use bypass secateurs where the cutting blade moves past a fixed bar. Anvil style secateurs where the blade closes against a flat surface can leave bruises on the stems and introduce infections. A pull saw and loppers for cutting large canes will assist for better leverage and for cutting thick branches. Obviously, protection from rose prickles for yourself is necessary too.  

For a month by month 'to do' list please see this link from the NSW Rose Society. Yates have some excellent advice on pruning roses and this can be seen here.


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