We prune roses for three main reasons:

  • to improve their flowering
  • to maintain an attractive shape
  • to keep plants healthy.

Getting the timing right

Different roses need to be pruned at different times of the year. .

Spring Pruning

Shrub roses

We prune these in mid-spring by removing dead, diseased and dying branches. We'll tidy up the rose by getting rid of some branches if they're tending to overcrowd and by removing any branches that are starting to cross each other. It just adds to the quality of the display.

As the roses start to fade inthe summer we'll then deadhead them,

Roses in this group include - R.Macmillan Nurse, R.Graham Thomas and Rosa rugosa 'Alba'.

Bush roses (includes, hybrid tea, floribunda and patio roses)

These are also pruned mid-spring. We'll again remove dead, diseased and dying branches and then we'll cut back the stems.

If you have any miniature roses these are more straightforward as they need pruning to help them keep an attractive shape>

Roses in this group include - Rosa 'Princess of Wales'  and  R. Iceberg.

Ground cover roses

With ground covering roses we'll also remove dead, diseased or dying branches, and give them a light prune just to make sure that they don't spread too far and become out of control. We'll also make sure that they don't start to choke ean other, so we'll remove any branches that are getting too thick which in turn will improve the overall health and encourage new growth.

Roses include - county series, R.Magic Carpet and R.Pink Bells.

Summer Pruning


These tend to need pruning in late summer. It's important that ramblers are kept in order otherwise they can become a mess (the clue is in the name) and if that happens they very often stop flowering or produce few flowers. And let's face it the main reason people grow roses is for the flowers.

We have a different strategy to the pruning depending on the age of the rose.
If it's a relatively new rose, we'll make sure that it's trained by giving each growth plenty of space, and anchor it to whatever trellising or anchor point is avaliable.
Later in its life we'll do some regular pruning by giving selected branches more space.

If the rambler is overgrown, and we're often called in for this very reason, we'll be more drastic. We'll get rid of any diseased, woody, dying or dead branches and generally trim the rose back to a smaller but healthier plant. This will form the basis of the new growth. We'll also make sure that the following spring the plant is well fed. Once we have the plant re-established the plant can be put onto regular maintenance to ensure that it doesn't become overgrown again.

Autumn Pruning


At times, when they've become a mess, climbers can be difficult to distinguish from ramblers. The distinguishing feature is the timing of the flowering. Pruning climbers is not all that different to pruning ramblers, except for the time of the year.

Climbers need support. So we make sure that they get it. How they're supported depends in part on their location within a garden.
In the initial training of the plant we'll make sure it gets off to a good start by getting rid of any weak or unhealthy or dead) branches.

Once the plant is established we'll routinely prune it by again getting rid of any branches that are not doing too well (or dead). Like with ramblers we'll make sure that the branches don't get overgrown or form a tangled mass (or mess).  
If the plant is a mess, and as with ramblers this is one reason why we get called in, we'll tidy it up by cutting back and re-training the branches and then making sure that the ones left are given the support they need.


Once we've finished pruning we'll make sure they're well fed by applying a good mulch and by the use of a thick layer of quality manure.