Monday, 3 October 2016

How To Prune Roses...

Hey everyone. Did you know that whilst we call the sharp spikes on roses "thorns", they are actually prickles! Well this blog isn't just full of useless facts like that, it also has some top tips on how to prune roses as well as a review of some secateurs we have been trying out recently. I'm off to make some rose perfume whilst you have a wee read...

Having a smell of some roses at Alnwick Gardens
Rose Pruning Tips:

The lovely people at the RHS know lots about garden (possibly even more than me) so here are their tips on how to prune a rose:

  • Late winter (February or March) is often a good time for pruning roses but see the individual rose profiles above for more specific timing.
  • 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
Roses photographed by Julie Howden
    • 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
    Roses photographed by Julie Howden
      • 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 and shrub 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

      Product Review:

      So, now that you are armed with the facts you need to make sure you have good 
      secateurs. We have been trialling the Spear & Jackson Ratchet Anvil Secateurs. The manufacturers say they have a high carbon steel blade for strength and durability (which is PTFE coated for smoother cutting and rust resistance), cast aluminium alloy handles, non-slip grip, and a spring loaded metal locking catch. The recommended maximum cutting capacity is 20mm diameter. Here is our professional opinion on them from our garden maintenance team...

      Clare says:

      "Usefulness - Main function 
      The ratchet pruning shears were very useful when cutting small to medium branches or bamboo stalks and offered very good resistance when cutting through branches, absorbing the force of the cut and making the cut easier on the arms.The ratchet shears were less useful when cutting thinner branches or fleshy perennial plant stems and were too clumsy.The thin stems just got chewed up.

      The shears are sturdy and strong and we didn't encounter any problems with durability. The safety catch on the shears was a so easy to use and well designed.

      Target audience 
      Anyone looking for shears which are ergonomic and which take some of the hard work out of gardening."  

      Neil says:

      "Initially the ratchet secateurs take a bit of getting used to. Feeling slightly clumpy and not as quick to use as traditional secateurs. After using them for a few hours I got used to them, they definitely come into there own on the thicker, harder to cut, stems and branches. The user can take on branches they wouldn't even attempt with the traditional secateurs.They definitely have their place in the gardening tool world, for someone with weaker hand/forearm strength looking to lop bigger branches. Call me a romantic but I still prefer the traditional secateurs, they seem faster and less fussy/clumpy."

      Roses photographed by Julie Howden

      Sounds like they are worth considering if you are looking to add some new secateurs to your gardening tools.

      I'll leave the last word to Abraham Lincoln who was a very important man (but didn't know the thorn versus prickles thing so not as clever as me!). He once said:

      “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

      Happy gardening!

      Lulu x 

      Oh, and thanks to the lovely Julie Howden Photography for allowing us to share her beautiful rose photos with you. Julie does wedding, family, corporate and many other types of photography. And she's proper good! 

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