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Ludwig Taschner
2 minute read
11 Jan 2014
7:00 am

Time to tame the roses

Ludwig Taschner

The roses loved the overcast skies and rainy days between Christmas and New Year – and with the subsequent heat, many have grown into monsters. Now is the time tame them.

THICKET. "Red Success" rose before pruning. Pictures: Supplied.

With the roses having had three flowering flushes and growing high and wide, it is good policy to carry out a grooming or summer pruning. Obviously, the degree of summer pruning depends on the grooming, cutting and dead-heading carried out over the past three months.

The rules for summer pruning are much more intricate than winter pruning. Each bush needs to be looked at and assessed as to what is needed to improve the flowering from now into winter.

The balance of remaining leaves has to be kept in mind all the time.

ROOM TO GROW. "Red Success" rose after pruning. The dense growth has been thinned out, allowing light and air into the bush which will encourage much better shooting and flowering stems.

ROOM TO GROW. “Red Success” rose after pruning. The dense growth has been thinned out, allowing light and air into the bush which will encourage much better shooting and flowering stems.

When the height of a tall bush needs to be reduced, cutting away more than half the leaves all at once upsets the root system and might cause a sap flow disturbance, which could cause sun burn and stem kanker. This can kill a rose – a real risk in the present heat. To prevent this, cut down a tall bush over two or three weeks. This causes the least sap flow disturbance. Cut into a stem below the starting point of the upper stem and always make sure there are leaves below the cut.

Bushes that have lost or are losing their leaves because of black spot or red spider are already under stress and cutting back would kill them. Instead, lightly trim the top growth and pinch off the tips of new growth. Twigs and obsolete stems can be removed. This should encourage sprouting on the lower, leafless stems. Once these have developed into stems with at least five leaves, cut back to just above them and the rose will perform superbly in autumn. Spraying for black spot prevention is essential. Even if the rose has not defoliated, but is not performing satisfactorily, snapping off the small buds at the tips of new shoots results in bigger shoots lower down. (Picture)