I wrote about replanting roses last week and I can’t believe how many of you wonderful readers love them because Ali, who lives in Petersfield, Joy from Donnington and Helen, who lives on the good old Isle of Wight, wrote asking how and when to prune roses.
The great news is that HT and floribunda roses are pruned right now, as long as you feel comfortable in the garden. Avoid wind, snow and ice – not for the benefit of the roses but you!
Make the job professional by cutting the grass edge and picking up the clippings.
Prune all bedding roses hard. Look at the growths and prune back leaving just two or three buds on every branch.
It is a good idea to prune back to a bud pointing away from the centre of the bush because this bud will be the strongest one.
Keep in mind, the harder you prune the more they will grow as long as you feed them afterwards.
You may see stumps which look dead. Long-handled secateurs will be useful to cut these off (nice birthday present).
Suckers appearing between the bushes must be removed. Use a spade to find out where they originate and use a pruning knife to carve the sucker off the base of the bush where it was budded a few years ago.
Once the pruning has been completed the weeds are forked out and the bed is lightly forked over. The rose bed edge should look immaculate so a border spade is used to throw the soil away from the edge .
The next recommend-ation is not often followed; a top dressing of well-rotted manure is applied to the
surface of the bed.
A four-inch layer of manure is applied all over the bed. Good quality well-rotted manure is now available at garden centres.
Don’t apply fertiliser yet, it’s too cold. Wait until the leaves start to unfurl, these will be red at first because you have pruned them hard.
Rosemary, who lives on the Isle of Wight, grows roses in pots. She has asked if they are pruned just like those in beds.
Yes Rosemary, but after pruning shake the rose plants out of the pots. Remove all the compost and replant after cleaning the pots using fresh John Innes number 3 compost, but add 10 per cent extra sand.
Put plenty of crocks in the bottom of the pots and use little feet to keep the pots off the ground to stop the worms entering the holes in the base.
Your question will help lots of other readers who grow roses in containers.