When to prune roses

When to prune roses?

Annual pruning of roses is the first step in achieving thick bushes and healthy plants. The right moment to intervene with the pruning operation must take place approximately at the end of the vegetative period of the plant (usually January-February), when the temperatures are no longer so rigid and the first buds are about to appear on the branches. In any case, already at the beginning of the autumn season it is good to prepare the plant for the arrival of winter and in view of the subsequent pruning, freeing the plant from branches and dry leaves. In any case it is always advisable not to delay pruning in the hottest season; in fact, during the cold period the possibility of transmitting diseases and infections is minimal, as pathogenic microorganisms and vector insects are less predisposed to attack plants.

Different varieties, different prunings

The varieties of roses are very numerous and each has its own characteristics. It is therefore important to take into consideration the specialty of rose on which pruning is carried out. Climbing roses should be cleared in early autumn of all dry parts as close to the roots as possible. During the pruning phase, the new weak shoots will be removed as well as the aged and weakened parts. The older branches must be kept to allow the plant to maintain good stability. For smaller roses, on the other hand, a real pruning is not essential. It is good to eliminate the shoots that grow externally and thin the shrub from dry or damaged branches. To allow the plant to reinvigorate itself, a more extensive pruning can be carried out every about 4 years. If, on the other hand, you are lucky enough to have wild roses, often belonging to very old varieties, the pruning should never be too extensive. In this case, the branches must be eliminated only when they are at least 5 years old.

Pruning of the garden in the different climatic zones

The period and the best ways to carry out the operation may also vary according to the exposure, latitude and altitude of our gardens and our plants. In the milder climate areas of central Italy, a preventive autumn pruning is preferable towards the beginning of November and therefore before the most intense cold, which should guarantee an early and abundant spring flowering. In the warm areas of the south and the maritime areas (or the Islands), pruning can be postponed even until December and after each flowering. In colder areas and at higher altitudes (Val d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy) it is instead advisable to delay pruning at the end of winter and during the frost period (which would be fatal for the first shoots), indicatively towards the end of March.

The tools for pruning

In addition to variable parameters such as the age of the roses, the variety and the period, there are aspects of the pruning of these shrubs that are indispensable for the survival of the plant over time: suitable equipment and the right type of cut. The incision of the branch must be made about 5 millimeters above the buds with an oblique cut that allows rainwater to drain correctly without stagnation. It is essential that the cut is clean and no fraying is created to avoid the onset of molds and fungi or the entry of bacteria. The essential tools for proper rose pruning are good pruning shears, thick gloves, a lopper for larger plants, and a pruner for climbing roses. The shears must always be sharp, well cleaned and carefully disinfected;

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