Summer-prune roses

Summer-prune roses

Mid to late summer is the time to groom your rose bushes in preparation for their last hoorah – a final flurry of blooms in autumn before they settle into winter dormancy. Pruning stimulates new growth, and the new growth is where the flower buds form. For healthy, full flowers next season, follow these simple steps.

Step 1
Assess each plant and form a general plan for how you will approach your pruning. Remove any spindly unproductive wood and thin out crowded sections as you go.

Step 2
Start working your way through the bush, shortening the overall height by about 1/3.

Step 3
Cut the stems just above a healthy leaf bud – these are found where the leaves join the stem and lower down on older wood (look for the small scaly lumps). It’s normally best to prune to an outward facing bud to direct growth outwards and keep the centre of the bush open, but it’s not vital this late in the season.

Step 4
Remove any thin, spindly growth that you see. It’s useless and will never amount to anything.

Step 5
Make way for new growth when you see it.

Step 6
Get rid of any dead material. It only invites unwanted disease organisms.

Step 7
Take out old, crowded sections, cutting just above a healthy stem, making way for these younger shoots to thrive. Other old stems that have become sluggish and unproductive can be cut off at the base. It’s all about rejuvenating the bush and keeping it fresh.

Step 8
Pull or trim off any diseased foliage left behind after pruning, and pick up leaves that have dropped on the ground, to reduce spread of disease to new growth. Collect all the prunings and toss it in your rubbish or green waste bin, not the compost.