OLD ROSE BUSHES
are two very good reasons why it is often worthwhile
pruning to rejuvenate an old rose. More often
than not you will be successful. They are tough
plants and most of them will respond to hard
pruning. It is worth remembering that you won’t
be able to replace the rose with another new
cultivar unless you change the soil the old
one was growing in.
With very old bush and shrub roses the best
method is to risk all and prune the plant hard.
Cut the main branches back to within 15-20 cm
of the ground. Remove any dead stumps. Water,
feed and mulch and, trust me, it will push out
There is no sense in hunting for a suitable
bud to prune to. With old stems they won’t
be visible but the pruning will kick start any
Climbers and rambler roses will, if not pruned
every year, quickly become an untidy mess. Ramblers
are normally pruned in summer after flowering
but for renovating they may be pruned at the
same time as the climbers in the dormant season.
climbers are badly overgrown with bare lower
branches and all the flowers above your head
then the best policy is to cut 3-4 of the oldest
shoots back to 30 cm from the base of the plant.
Cut the long stems up and remove in suitable
sized pieces. Any laterals on the remaining
stems should be shortened by two thirds. Cut
to a bud pointing sideways.
Alternatively, shorten half the stems by two
thirds pruning the remaining shoots to the same
height the following spring.
Ramblers may be renovated by pruning out all
the old stems at the base only retaining any
new shoots. With plants where there are no new
growths and the plant is a tangled mass of branches
then cut, in late summer, all the growths to
within 20-30 cm of the ground and wait for new
shoots to form.
Examine rejuvenated plants for unwanted suckers
removing them by pulling them off the stem or
root when they are small.
After a severe pruning, water, feed and mulch
the plant to give it the best chance for a full
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