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Rose bush pruning

I have just bought a house (in my home town of Cheltenham, England), the garden is very run down and will be a long term project. However there are three very tall, well established rose bushes (the variety of which I have no idea). They seem a bit spindly and are tall rather than bushy. I am a huge fan of rose bushes and would like to try and get the best out of them. Bearing in mind I know next to nothing about gardening and am very much a newbie (albeit an enthusiastic one), I am wondering what to do. I have taken off all of the dead heads and can see that due to some mild winter weather we have had, there are new little shoots coming off the branches.
Can anyone help with how to prune these to get the best out of them, and perhaps a way to bring down the height and encourage them to 'fill out' a little?

p.s. Apologies for my ignorance!

Green Thumb
Posts: 532
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:56 pm
Location: Southwest Louisiana

Re: Rose bush pruning

I"m not sure of gardening techniques in England for Roses-and to tell the truth, I only have 2 rose bushes-I find they need more care than I want to give.BUT, to prune, rule of thumb is to cut the rose bush back 1/3 (yes, I know that is drastic), and have only 3-5 main stalks. Again, I suppose it depends on the type of rose bush you have. What zone you are in makes a difference, too. I am in the deep south, so we are pruning rose bushes now. Fertilize at the time of pruning. As I said, I am not a "rose" person, but that is the best advice I can give.
zone 9 Southwest La.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Rose bush pruning

If you look on the rose society website they have a primer for pruning. Some types of roses are not pruned back as much as others. So it would help to identify the kind of rose you have.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:01 am
Location: Shoreline WA

Re: Rose bush pruning

Hi, Cicely, You will probably get as many ways to prune roses as replies to your question. Here is how I do and and have lots of roses and experience. First - wait for at least one month to start pruning them. If you start too early, they can be forced out of dormancy and that is not good. When you do start - the first thing to do is Stand Back and look carefully at your bushes. The first cut should be to remove branches that cut across the center of the plant. Take them off all the way to the main branch. It won't hurt the plant if you leave a little stub at the cut. Next, cut any branches that come out from below the graft - the knob that is close to the base of the plant. Most roses are grafted - the good type of plant is Grafted (grown into ) on root stock. You will know when they start growing which are grafted because the leaves will look very different than the leaves from the grafted part. If you don't remove these they may take over the plant. Root stock flowers are usually dark red smallish and not very interesting. If your plant are more than 4 feet or 3 meters tall, cut them to this height. This is a good place to stop for now. You can trim them up more later in the spring. Do go on line and find some illustrated directions for pruning roses. There are hundreds of uTubes that you might find helpful. If a local garden center advertises that they have a clinic or demonstration that is another great place to watch experts prune roses. Learn how to prune all spring and summer as you pick your flowers to enjoy. Good Luck

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