‘Very straightforward’: How to prune rambling roses now to ensure flowers next year

Gardeners' World: Monty Don provides advice on pruning roses

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Pruning is when you selectively remove branches from a tree, shrub or plant. The goal is to improve its structure as well as encourage new growth. While plants all have different pruning requirements, now is a great time to prune rambling roses.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said: “Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between a climbing rose and a rambling rose. 

“The easiest way to tell the difference is to take note of the flowering time. 

“A climbing rose will repeat-flower almost all summer, while a rambling rose usually flowers only once, normally around June.”

Rambling roses are routinely pruned in late summer, this is after their show of flowers. They should have also been deadheaded regularly to encourage growth.

The RHS added: “Renovation can be carried out at any time between late autumn and late winter. 

“It is easier to see what you are doing when the rose is not in leaf, plus there is a better response from the rose, which should grow back vigorously the following spring.”

When it comes to pruning, gardeners should thin and shorten excessive growth by removing one in three of the oldest stems entirely.

The RHS said if space is restricted, prune out all stems that have flowered before tying new ones to take their place.

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Finish by shortening side shoots by about two thirds and then pruning should be complete.

If you have a rather overgrown rambler, it is ideal to renovate it to ensure it thrives next year. According to the experts, this job should be done in late winter.

They explained: “Remove all dead, diseases, dying and weak shoots. Cut some of the old woody branches to the ground, retaining a maximum of six young, vigorous stems that can be secured to supports.

“Saw away any dead stumps at the base of the plant, where rain can collect and encourage rot. Shorten side shoots on the remaining branches and prune back the tips by one third to one half, to encourage branching.

“Give pruned plants a boost in the following spring by spreading a granular rose fertiliser over the soil and mulch them with a five centimetre layer of garden compost or well rotted manure.”

In a recent episode of Gardeners’ World, Monty Don demonstrated how to prune roses, which he said was “very straightforward”.

The expert explained: “Pruning shrub roses like those in the cottage garden is actually very straightforward and if in doubt and you do nothing, you’ll do no harm at all.

“Now, this is a rambling rose and you can see it’s generating this new growth, this is a typical rambling growth.

“It’s slender and arching and you can see new growth coming down here. Because it’s young, it’s yet to go up into the tree.

“Quite frankly, the best thing to do is to leave them to it. Don’t try and prune them.

“However, I have got a rambler growing over a shed, which does need quite a lot of pruning.”

Monty said that the rambler, Felicite Perpetue, was very vigorous and wasn’t growing in the direction he had hoped due to a lack of light.

The expert pruned the rose back to make sure its growth was the best it could be next year.

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