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Prune your roses

24 February 2015

Prune your roses this month before the spring takes a proper hold and they're starting to put on new growth. Bush and shrub roses should be first on your list: climbers are usually pruned in autumn, and you should leave rambling roses alone altogether – they're pruned after they've finished flowering, in late summer.

Arm yourself with a pair of sharp secateurs – you'll find professional-grade models in your garden centre. It's important to make clean cuts so the plant heals more quickly. You're aiming to build a healthy framework of shoots which will produce a good display of flowers, so start by thinning overcrowded growth to allow in light and air. It'll also give pests and diseases no place to hide and encourage strong, healthy growth from the base. While you're at it, get rid of dead or unhealthy wood, plus any shoots rubbing against each other.

Always prune to outward-facing buds, and aim for an open, evenly-spaced goblet shape. Clear up rose prunings carefully or they will ambush you later in the year with diseases like blackspot, which overwinters on infected foliage and stems. Finally mulch with well-rotted farmyard manure and look forward to a spectacular display of summer blooms.

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