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Rose pruning: general tips

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last updated Dec 22, 2011
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Prevent suckers taking over by cutting them off at their point of origin

These general tips for rose pruning will help you improve the health and lifespan of any rose.

Suitable for... Back to top

The following tips are for all roses. However, there is more detailed pruning advice available for specific types;

When to do it Back to top

See the individual rose profiles (listed above).

How prune roses: general tips Back to top

When tackling roses bear the following in mind;

  • Cuts should be no more than 5mm (¼ in) above a bud and should slope away from it, so that water does not collect on the bud. This applies to all cuts, whether removing dead wood, deadheading or annual pruning
  • Cut to an outward-facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape. With roses of spreading habit prune some stems to inward-facing buds to encourage more upright growth
  • Cut to the appropriate height, if a dormant bud is not visible
  • Cuts must be clean, so keep your secateurs sharp. For larger stems, use loppers or a pruning saw
  • Prune dieback to healthy white pith
  • Cut out dead and diseased stems and spindly and crossing stems
  • Aim for well-spaced stems that allow free air flow
  • On established roses, cut out poorly flowering old wood and saw away old stubs that have failed to produce new shoots
  • With the exception of climbing roses, prune all newly planted roses hard to encourage vigorous shoots
  • Trace suckers back to the roots from which they grow and pull them away

These tips should be read in conjunction with the appropriate rose pruning profile.

Quick facts

Suitable for All roses
Timing See individual profiles
Difficulty Moderate
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