16th March 2009
very best day to prune your roses is St. Patrickís
Day Ė17 March. You donít have
to be Irish but some of the luck may rub off.
There is a lot of conflicting advice about
when to prune and climate change would suggest
that we should prune earlier. Donít listen
to a word of it. There was little evidence
of warmer weather for the most of February
with freezing temperatures lower than for a
trouble is that when you prune a rose the
plant responds by pushing all its energy
into the remaining growth buds and they expand
and open early. If you prune early then a
single nightís frost can do enormous damage
in two ways to the unprotected buds.
they become frosted with burnt young foliage
then the plantís growth will be set back by weeks.
If the bud has started to expand but is still
closed then where there is a drop of water
lodged between the bud and the stem that freezes
during the night the water will expand and
push the bud off. Either way the first flush
of flowers will be late. By the time Irelandís
saintís day comes around the worst of the harsh
weather is over and growth can start in earnest.
Tips For Bush Roses
Remove all stems thinner
than a No.5 knitting needle.
all shoots growing into the centre of the
Remove any diseased stems especially
those with black or purple blotches.
to an outward pointing with a sloping cut
immediately above the bud. Remember that
the shoot will grow in the direction the
bud is pointing. Remove any suckers pulling
them (rather than cutting them) off the rootstock
or the root.
Burn all diseased shoots.
the pruning finished encourage the rose with
a 10 cm deep mulch of old, well rotted farmyard
manure and a handful of rose fertilizer per
Prune, Prune Prune
to John's index page