Plant expert shares the ‘principles of pruning’ roses for ‘new growth’

B&Q shares how to prune roses in spring

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After a long winter, your roses are probably looking a little worse for wear with spent flower heads and faded leaves. Roses need to be pruned in late winter to early spring (February or March) when new growth begins. However, it’s best to check when to prune the specific variety you have before you start.

If you’ve got an unknown rose, that you were either gifted or you’ve inherited in a new garden, then prune in late February or March.

With this in mind, B&Q gardening expert and horticulturalist Adam Pasco has shared the “principles of pruning” in a video for the DIY and home improvement store.

Adam said to start with, gardeners should make sure they are wearing some thick gardening gloves to protect themselves from the thorns on roses.

He also said a really sharp pair of secateurs are “essential” to cut through roses’ thick stems.

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When pruning roses, he suggested standing back and looking at the bush to figure out where the flowers are going to form.

If your rose bush still has old flowers from last year on it, these need to be cut away to “encourage strong, new growth” which will carry the flowers in the summer months.

Repeat flowering varieties of roses will likely keep flowering well into autumn.

The first thing gardeners need to do is remove any dead wood from the rose bush.

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Have a look over the plant and look for any old stems which can be pruned away completely. These might look like stumps on the plant or might even be right at the bottom of the plant.

Stumps or old wood can be removed completely because you won’t get any new growth from them.

Old leaves with black spots on them should also be removed as this is a common sign of a “fungus disease”.

Cutting off the leaves and pruning them will stop the disease from spreading or transferring onto the new leaves that will grow.

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When pruning your rose bush, it’s important to keep an eye on the shape of the plant.

Adam suggested aiming for an “open-shaped” bush to avoid any inward crossing stems.

If there are any stems growing inwards or facing inwards, these should be pruned away to keep the centre of the plant open and airy.

Having an open structure allows air to circulate around the plant as it grows.

Adam removed some of the stems crossing over one another from the inside of the plant.

While it may be tempting to remove lots of the stems, Adam said to just remove a few as you can always come back and remove more later on.

Once the middle of the bush is more open, remove old flower stems and cut them back to a new bud. Look for buds lower down the stem which are pointing outwards and then make your cut just above that by slanting the secateurs.

Cutting at an angle allows any rainfall to drain away easily. You’ll get a new shoot from the new buds that will carry flowers in the summer.

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