It’s coming up to pruning time again for your roses and other deciduous shrubs and trees in the garden. Roses definitely benefit from a winter prune. You’ll get more branching, fresher, healthier growth and ultimately better flowering next spring and summer if you give them a prune in July or August. Some gardeners I know are quite ruthless in pruning their roses back about 50% with a chainsaw or mechanical pruner. Most of us are bit more careful and use good sharp secateurs to remove any dead stems, spindly growth and reduce overall bush size by about a third.
I attempt to create a balanced bush with inwards and outwards facing branches. It’s best to cut stems on a 45 degree angle, just above a new, outward facing bud. If you have had serious black spot or other fungal disease in your roses during the last growing season, give the pruned plant a spray with lime sulphur and take all prunings and old leaves away and put in the garbage (not in your compost heap).
Other plants to prune in winter are hydrangeas (remove stems that flowered earlier this year), grape vines and ornamental climbing plants such as clematis.
Deciduous fruit trees such as peaches, nectarines and figs can also be given a tidy-up prune now too. The general theme with these is to aim for a vase shaped tree with minimal inward facing branches.
Keeping these trees to a small to medium size makes them easier to pick fruit from and also easier to cover with netting to reduce bird damage to fruit.
Millthorpe Garden Nursery