Trees, shrubs, and Roses need to be pruned back to build up a strong framework of branches. You should prune on a regular basis as it maintains shape, thins out the branches, letting in light and increases air flow, encourages new growth and stops stems becoming woody and straggly.

Flowering trees should not be pruned until after flowering has finished as flowers are borne on last seasons branches. Weeping trees should be shaped in their early years to ensure the tree grows to the desired umbrella shape. Some trees and shrubs need never be pruned while others require seasonal trimming.  You can tip prune any time of the year if you see a part of the plant that looks diseased, to stop spreading of a problem or cut off a dead branch to keep pests from entering. If branches are twisting or crossing remove the smaller one. If you see vigorous growth from under the graft, that has to be cut off as it will overtake the grafted plant above it.038 039

The equipment you need for pruning is a pair of clean sharp secateurs. a pruning saw for cutting old wood, and long handles loppers which are good for removing larger longer branches. Gloves are a must to save your hands from thorns and scratches and perhaps consider long sleeves.036 037

Established roses are given a major prune in winter. In light frost areas you can do this job in June or July, in areas of high frost delay pruning till August to avoid frost damage. In warmer areas you can prune after the flowers finish in mid-winter. The aim is to remove about  60% of the overall growth reducing the size of the rose and removing any old unproductive canes, rejuvenating the bush. Old branches are usually brown or grey and can be shrivelled so cut them back to the base of the branch or at least back to healthy wood.  Younger canes are usually green or reddish depending on the variety. Remove half of the stems and shorten the remainder. It doesn’t need to be a daunting job as roses are tough and its pretty hard to do anything wrong, you can even just run over them with a hedge trimmer. Some pruning is better than no pruning at all! Its best to remove any remaining foliage off roses.  Most roses flower from Spring, through Summer and Autumn. Once all the old growth has been removed, spray with lime sulphur to destroy scale pests and fungal diseases. We sell this product in a bottle as a liquid which needs then to be dilluted with water.

Pruning Standard roses exactly as you would a normal bush rose. Don’t prune below the graft or you will destroy the standard. Weeping roses can be pruned back to about one third to half of their origional length.