" Blog da Horta Biológica: When, Why and How To Prune Roses

When, Why and How To Prune Roses

Roses are beautiful plants that can be found in gardens, both public and private, all over the world. The medicinal properties of roses have been known since ancient times and these flowers are one of the most versatile in personal care. If you are interested in learning more about the properties and uses of roses, read our post Rose Water: Benefits and How To Make It

In this post we're going to dedicate to rose care. We'll look at when, how, and why to prune these plants. At the end of the post, also watch our educational video where we show how to prune roses step by step.


When to Prune Roses?


To know when to prune rose roses, the following factors must be taken into account:


The Type of Rose


There are several types of roses, each with different needs. The best time to prune depends on the type of rose and its environment. Therefore, it is necessary to know the cultivated varieties so that the treatments are the most appropriate.

Some examples are remontant roses that bloom several times a year and should be pruned at the end of winter, and non-remontat roses that only bloom once a year and should be pruned soon after blooming.


The Best Pruning Season for the Type of Rose


  • It should also be noted that if pruning is made early, the roses will bloom earlier and the buds may be frost-burned. If pruning is made late, the plant may be damaged by the loss of sap after the cuts.

  • The rose bush we pruned for this post and video is a remontant rose bush, and for these roses, the best time to prune is during their short dormant period, near the end of winter, when temperatures begin to rise and there is less likelihood of frost.

  • It should also be kept in mind that during the waning quarter, there is low sap flow, so the plant is less likely to lose sap after cutting.

  • Pruning should be avoided on rainy days, as well as in the early morning hours before the dew has dissipated, in order to avoid water accumulation in the cuts, which could cause the appearance of fungi.


What to Use for Cutting?


When pruning rose bushes, depending on the thickness and height of the branches, the following tools will be needed:


  • Pruning shears
  • Branch cutter


Other Important Materials


  • Gardening gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Ethyl alcohol and a cloth for disinfecting the material


Pruning material should always be well sharpened and disinfected before use on each plant, in order to prevent a sick plant from passing diseases and pests on to other healthy plants.



What to Cut?


The first thing to do before start pruning is to examine the plant in order to identify:

  • Branches that grow towards the center of the rose bush
  • Crossing branches
  • Dry, damaged or diseased branches
  • Branches that are too long or too high
  • Branches growing towards passageways



Why To Cut?


Roses should be pruned for several reasons:


  • To give the plant a harmonious and careful shape
  • To prevent excessive development
  • To favor the aeration and lightening
  • To promote the growth of new and more productive branches
  • To do a general cleaning of the plant, removing unnecessary branches


Let's see why to prune each of the branches we mentioned above:


Branches that grow towards the center of the rose bush need to be cut back so that the plant doesn't become too dense. Excess branches make all the branches overall weaker. By choosing the best ones and cutting the weakest ones, the branches will become stronger and more productive. On the other hand, you also create more space for better air circulation, for sunlight to reach all the branches, and for easier access to the interior of the plant when pruning or spraying against any pests and diseases is needed. Cutting back branches that grow inward also allows you to define and balance the shape of the plant.

Crossing branches compete with each other and harm both each other's growth and productivity. You should cut those that are growing towards the center of the rose bush and favor those that are growing outwards, as they will contribute to the formation of the plant and have better sun exposure.


Dry, damaged or diseased branches are also useless. Damaged branches can be a gateway for pests and diseases, so they should be cut off immediately.


Branches that are too long or too tall become weaker and are at risk of breaking, plus it is not practical to have a rose bush that is too tall. Cutting these branches makes them stronger while allowing you to define the contours of the plant.


Branches that grow towards passageways take up unnecessary space and can even injure people passing by, so they should be cut back in a way that they don't grow back in the same direction.



How to Cut?


You can can a whole branch or not, depending on the shape that you want to give to the plant.

If the goal is to eliminate an entire branch, the cut should be made where the branch begins, that is, at the insertion with another branch or with the trunk of the rose bush. This is a swollen area (also known as the branch neck) and is an area favorable for healing. If cut correctly and the branch neck is left intact the wound will seal more easily, which is also crucial for protecting the plant from pests and diseases.

If the goal is to shorten a branch, the cut should be made above the bud so that it can sprout and grow healthy and vigorous.


The ideal cut should be precise and made all at once, whenever possible with a slope of about 45 degrees, which prevents the accumulation of water that can cause the branch to rot and fungi to appear.


Although roses are pest resistant, after pruning you can also apply a sealing paste to the cuts so that they heal more quickly and are not exposed to the elements that can lead to disease. The paste should be applied over and around the cut to cover the entire area of the cut.


Take a look at our video where we show how we pruned our rose bush.


VIDEO - When, Why and How To Prune Roses











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