When bush comes to shove

PUBLISHED: 11:26 09 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010

Get pruning those roses

Get pruning those roses

MARCH is the month for a final pruning of bush roses, which should have been lightly trimmed in late autumn to prevent wind rock during the winter months. Make sure you use a pair of secateurs with sharp blades for the job to ensure a clean cut since ragg

MARCH is the month for a final pruning of bush roses, which should have been lightly trimmed in late autumn to prevent wind rock during the winter months. Make sure you use a pair of secateurs with sharp blades for the job to ensure a clean cut since ragged edges can cause problems. Begin by cutting out all - damaged or crossing stems at their base. Then for hybrid tea and floribunda roses aim to create an open-shaped bush which will allow light and air to move freely through its structure by eliminating any crowded stems completely. The remaining stems on hybrid tea roses need to be pruned quite hard making a cut just above an outward facing bud about 6in from the base of the bush. For floribundas, such as the deservedly popular Iceberg, pruning should not be so vigorous. Again try to make sure the bush has an open structure, and then reduce the remaining stems by one-third of their length. While you are working with these roses, check that no suckers are growing up from the rootstock on which they have been grafted, which is usually briar or the wild rose. If any are present it is important to scrape away the soil at the base of the rose and tear off the sucker growth, which if allowed to develop will in time completely take over. Old-fashioned shrub roses need only light pruning, once crossing and damaged stems have been removed, since it is their nature to become large, and in some cases, sprawling bushes. While some repeat their flowering period others, such as the beautiful moss rose, William Lobb, only bloom once, and light pruning will allow the maximum number of flowers to appear. They can be trimmed back a little after flowering if they are growing too large for the space allocated.

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