Along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, roses can be pruned from mid July until mid August. The main reason for this annual pruning is the removal of the old wood, as well as weak or twiggy stems. Don’t be scared to prune. The general rule is not to reduce the height of a rose bush by more than a third. In order for your roses to thrive, though, you need to cut out all twiggy growth. Doing this not only assists with creating a healthy rose bush, but it also neatens and shapes up your plant too.
Pruning options are: light, medium or hard. To start, you will need a measuring stick of at least 1 metre in height. The first 10cm must be pushed into the ground you will then need to mark the stick at 90cm, 70cm and 50cm.
A light pruning would be the removal of all stems above 90cm; a medium pruning would be the removal of all stems above 70cm and a hard pruning would be removing all stems above 50cm.
The tools required, besides the 1 metre stick are :
– a good pair of secateurs
– long handled loppers
– a pruning saw and
– a good pair of gardening gloves
Make sure that your tools are sharp and in a good condition. Weak blades do damage to the stems. Remember you need a neat clean cut.
If you have numerous rose bushes, it’s recommended that you disinfect your tools after pruning each tree. The reason for this is to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Grovisan is an ideal disinfectant for this job. A pruning seal compound is also recommended for the sealing of the wounds to prevent disease from setting in.
Don’t forget the aftercare, which is just as important as the pruning. After pruning, spray the dormant rose bushes with Lime Sulphur, which will keep the pests at bay and ensure your bush has a healthy start.
Ideally, straight after pruning, you should also dig over the soil to a depth of between 15dm and 30cm. Mix compost and bone meal into the soil.
Congratulations! Your winter pruning is complete. Do not forget to stock up with Rose Protector, Chronos, Odion and Koihnor. As mentioned earlier, the aftercare of your roses is just as important to give you all year pleasure.