April Tips & Advice

How to prune roses: general tips Back to top

  • Cuts should be no more than 5mm (¼ in) above a bud and should slope away from it, so that water does not collect on the bud. This applies to all cuts, whether removing dead wood, deadheading or annual pruning.
  • Cut to an outward-facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape. With roses of spreading habit prune some stems to inward-facing buds to encourage more upright growth. 
  • Cut to the appropriate height, if a dormant bud is not visible. 
  • Cuts must be clean, so keep your secateurs sharp. For larger stems, use loppers or a pruning saw. 
  • Prune dieback to healthy white pith. 
  • Cut out dead and diseased stems and spindly and crossing stems. 
  • Aim for well-spaced stems that allow free air flow. 
  • On established roses, cut out poorly flowering old wood and saw away old stubs that have failed to produce new shoots. 
  • With the exception of climbing roses, prune all newly planted roses hard to encourage vigorous shoots. 
  • Trace suckers back to the roots from which they grow and pull them away.

Material courtesy of www.rhs.org.uk