Prune roses immediately as first touch of winter frost could harm plant

Prune roses immediately as first touch of winter frost could harm plant

With only nine days until December, gardeners are being urged to prune all of their roses before a hard frost hits. According to experts at, to « prevent frost damage » gardeners should only prune if there is « not a hard frost ».

The UK’s leading gardening charity, the RHS, said there are two key elements to pruning these beautiful blooms to keep them looking pretty and healthy.

The first is to remove any dead, diseased or damaged shoots; the second is to open up the centre of the plant to improve air circulation and deter fungal diseases.

When it comes to pruning, however, there can be slight differences depending on the roses you have in your outdoor space.

There can be specific advice for climbing roses, hybrid tea and floribundas, groundcover roses, rambling roses, and shrub roses.

If you don’t really know which rose you have, don’t fret, general pruning tips can apply to all types of roses.

General tips for pruning roses

When pruning, the cuts should be no more than 5mm above a bud and it should slope downwards away from the bud.

Another tip is to cut to an outward-facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape.

By pruning stems to inward-facing buds, more upright growth is encouraged, rather than them sprawling haphazardly.

« Cut to the appropriate height, if a dormant bud is not visible, » the RHS instructed.

Another must-do gardening job is to « prune dieback to healthy white pith » and to aim for well-spaced stems to allow free airflow.

Identifying a climber or rambling rose

Look for long-arching stems, tallness, and in need of some support to hold itself up.

These characteristics are all indicative of a climber or rambling rose, which have additional pruning tips.

The RHS said: « Where there is only one thick old stem going down to ground level, go easy as it may not regenerate if cut hard back. Instead, shorten by between a third and a half. »

For multi-stemmed roses, aim to take out a couple of the oldest-looking stems as near to the base as possible.

You can spot older stems as they will look grey in colour, or have a flaky bark.

Other top gardening must-dos for November include:

  • Clearing fallen leaves
  • Plant Tulip bulbs
  • Put out bird food.

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