Rose Pruning

Rose Pruning

Before planting roses in the autumn the roots should be shortened by a third. This allows new absorbent roots to form at the cut points.

The grafting position must be covered with soil to prevent frost damage and the formation of suckers. Nothing should be touched above ground level during autumn planting, except for the removal of broken off branches and any old buds and old flowerings.


But in the spring the work really starts. Shoots should be cut back to three or four buds to give strength and sap for new shoots. By buds, we mean the leaf and flower buds with are easy to recognize at the thickening of the stem.

Rejuvenating  „Sleeping Beauties“

Allow climbing roses a free growth. If possible, these lovely Sleeping Beauties should be left in peace, and only fairly old, very woody shoots should be cut off close to the ground. For best rejuvenation results, concentrate on branches which are at least three years old. The thinning will result in a good quantity of young shoots and a richer riot of blossom.


And standard roses are also best left alone. Only dry, frost-bitten wood should be removed and otherwise the same pruning rules as for bush and China roses apply.

Roses in summer

It´s the aim of every flower-lover to keep rose blossom longer – and this can be achieved by regularly removing dead heads. This prevents hips forming on the plants and fruits weakening the roses. Weakened plants are easy victims for louse and other pests and germs.

Roses in the vase

Connoisseurs cut roses only in the early morning – because then they have fully absorbed dew and ground water. For this purpose, flower-picking secateurs – which cut and simultaneously hold the rose – are practical. After cutting, the flowers should be put in a vase as soon as possible. And to considerably increase the life of roses, make a note of these tips….


Cut into the stems daily with a sharp knife below the water level and make small incisions in the flower stalks. And to further increase the life of your flowers, place the vase in a cool room at night.

The best secateurs

Only first class secateurs should be used so tend roses – the loveliest of all flowering shrubs – such as the 1922 secateurs from FREUND. Both blades of the secateurs should be sharp, but circular forged, to allow smooth cutting, particularly into tricky soft woods. Check whether the blades can be replaced. 

Annual rose pruning

Spring is the best time to prune back established roses, when no severe frost is expected. In autumn only flowered and bent shoots or branches should be removed.


Basically the following rules apply: Cut back weak shoots lower than strong ones. This means that a lower cut, down to about three of four buds – or 10-15 cm – is recommended for all border and China roses.

Gardeners who like to cut a good number of bouquets from their China roses should also cut back the strongest growing varieties just as low. This done, the plants will grow larger and blossom more richly.


On moderately strong-growing bush and border roses, six to eight buds should be left intact and for really strong growers, a few more still. This corresponds to a height of about 15 to 25 cm above the ground.

Every few years plan a rejuvenating cut. Use the secateurs fairly low, to the extent that is doesn`t matter whether a bud can still be seen on the old wood.


Cut back dry, old, crossing and inward-growing shoots to the grafting point, but only thin out ornamental bush and park roses. To do this, cut out from bushes which have grown much too densely – particularly shoots which are more than three or four years old.

Rose grafting

Almost all our garden roses are grafted. In gardeners` language that means that a “scion” of a beautiful variety is grafted onto a rootstock plant. The rootstock – or the base grows better and is, in the main, healthier than the variety from which the scion stems. This type of propogation is called budding. To propogate a variety in this way simply buy the grafting bases (seedlings) from a nursery and, at the end of July, beginning of August, carry out the budding – preferably with a special budding knife. The scions consist of 5 x 20 mm large pieces of cortex with a bud. These are cut from one-year-old stems, preferably ones which have already flowered. You then make a T-cut in the rootstock and raise the cortex with the horn of the knife. Insert the bud a secure the join by wrapping round tigtly with raffia – taking care that the bud itself remains free.

You`ll find in specialist gardening shops rapid fasteners in the form of expanding rubber patches (4.5 x 2.5 cm) which can be stretched over the grafting position and held fast with a U-shaped clamp. The grafted scion should start to shoot the following spring.