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Mature rose bushes getting out of control

Discussion in 'In the Garden' started by mike004, 2 Oct 2017.

  1. mike004

    mike004

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    For the past few years every October/November I have been hard-pruning my rose bushes. Chopping them back by at least 50%.
    However, they have put on new growth every year and are now about 10 foot tall and impossible to manage, with long branches. I can't reach the top to deadhead the flowers!

    Is there any way of pruning them back to a manageable rose bush again?
     
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  3. JohnD

    JohnD

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    cut them back to 18" tall.

    don't be scared.

    Cut back on your fertiliser or manure which is perhaps causing excess growth.
     
  4. mike004

    mike004

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    John,
    If I cut back to 18 inches, that will all be old wood. These are mature bushes.
    Will I get new growth next year from that?

    I don't use any fertiliser.
     
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    yes, most likely. Roses are more resilient than you think.

    Next year you can trim the new growth to a better shape.
     
  6. coopersim

    coopersim

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    Rose pruning covered on last Fridays gardeners world. Might be worth a watch.
     
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  8. r896neo

    r896neo

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    Ironically hard pruning encourages vigourous growth. Typically with roses if you wanted to encourage a weak shoot you often would prune it hard to stimulate growth and comversely to just take a short tip off can slow growth compared to hard pruning.

    This is all well and good if you are able to manage them but it sounds like yours are beyond that.

    Cut it hard now and then in late winter prune more carefully to get a bit of a shape you want and can manage.

    People are usually too gentle and afraid of pruning roses incorrectly. There was a study where they pruned a large rose bed as per the classic careful techniques and pruned an exact same area with the same species with a tractor mounted flail (spinning chains) There was no difference in flowering performance for years 1-5 at which point the test was ended.
     
  9. HERTS P&D

    HERTS P&D

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    Nothing wrong with old wood! :sneaky:

    Andy
     
  10. EddieM

    EddieM

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    The RHS did a trial on the best technique for pruning roses. The result ..... use a hedge trimmer. Sounds brutal but hey ho. BTW this doesn't work for rambling or climbing roses.
     
  11. conny

    conny

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    We had a similar problem 2 years ago when we moved in. House had been empty for 18 months and the roses, (climbers and bushes), so we took a chance and cut them back to about 6" above ground level in the autumn. The following spring they started showing new growth and we simply pruned them to shape as the season progressed. Next door neighbour, who is an old lady and very knowledgeable about flowers and shrubs we discovered), said she had never seen them looking so healthy and with so many beautiful blooms throughout the whole summer.
    So, on that basis I would suggest you cut it back to about 6" above ground level. If this worries you do it in stages. Cut back to about 4' high, give it a week or so, and if it hasn't suddenly died cut back to 2'. If it's too late in the season, i.e. weather is just above freezing, you can give a final cut in early spring when there is no likelihood of a hard frost. Slight frost will not harm them.
     
  12. endecotp

    endecotp

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    Yes, but don't do it yet. Wait till late winter, ideally just before the spring growth is going to start. The danger is that where you cut can allow infection. Doing it now allows all winter for the base of the plant to get infected. I'd also suggest a bit more than 6", maybe a foot; then in the spring you can pile plenty of mulch (i.e. compost or manure) around the base without burying it.
     
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