WELCOME BACK TO ISLAND GARDENS. TODAY WE’RE LOOKING AT PRUNING ROSES AND OTHER PLANTS IN TIME FOR SPRING GROWTH JUST A FEW WEEKS AWAY NOW. THERE IS A LOT OF ADVICE AVAILABLE ON ROSES, AND OFTEN MUCH DEBATE AS TO WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG. SO THE ADVICE I GIVE HERE IS FROM MY EXPERIENCE, THAT OF MY CUSTOMERS, AND A LITTLE RESEARCH. AT THE END OF THE DAY – DO IT WITH A LITTLE COMMON SENSE AND YOUR USUAL LOVE AND CARE.

So here we are close to the end of Winter and most of our roses are leafless and flowerless. Although the springlike days that Bribie Island gratefully receives in winter means that many roses are still sending out a flower or two. Either way, we are nearing the end of the dormant period in which they should have their big winter prune – many of our experienced rose growers will have done this in July – but it’s not too late. The temperatures shouldn’t warm up much for at least a couple of weeks yet.

The pictured rose bush here is a “standard rose” (also referred to as a stem rose) – a variation of the normal bush rose but grafted at a height of 90cm or 60cm (patio standards). The same pruning advice applies to bush roses.

When pruning, create a bowl shape as shown in the lower photo. This allows sunlight and air to reach all parts of the bush when growth returns. Also, black spot is a common affliction and this aerated shaping will help to alleviate or negate the problem.

Aim to cut off around half to even two-thirds of the bush’s size. Any branches which are facing inwards are best cut off. As much as possible, have your branches fanning outwards. Cutting about 5-10mm above an outward-facing node will encourage the Spring growth to continue outward, allowing the sunlight and airflow to continue reaching the whole bush. The bowl-like appearance will be the result, creating a very healthy basis for your rose’s upcoming season. Although you now have what may appear to be a boring bunch of sticks, you can look forward to a magnificent display of roses in the months to come.

It is okay to do minor pruning throughout the year to help keep your bush nicely shaped, including removing the dead flowers whenever you see them. As with most flowering plants, “dead-heading,” these flowers promotes the growth of new flowers.

And just a little hint to keep in mind every year for Mother’s Day – at the end of March or very early April – prune back a few inches of lots of stems and branches. 6 to 8 weeks later, you will have a spurt of new roses to give to all the special mums you know 🙂

Have a wonderful August and see you again in issue 121 on the 28th August.

Have a wonderful August and see you again in issue 121 28th August. happy gardening.