Some folk are scared off by the thought of pruning roses, thinking that if they don’t do it right, don’t cut it at the right angle or to an outward facing bud that they’re going to somehow damage their roses. This type of thinking takes the joy out of growing roses.
There are instances where roses just get sheared down yet grow on to be healthy specimens producing masses of flowers.
I was at a rose talk a few years ago at a very well known and popular rose nursery. This nursery grows their own rose plants to sell and the fellow who was giving the talk said that with their roses they just go along and use hedge trimmers to prune them.
The audience, who consisted of a lot of die-hard rose lovers like myself was aghast, but this fellow went on to explain that with the hundreds of roses they grow out in the field they just don’t have the time or man-power for pruning roses individually, and after this shearing prune they come back looking great year after year.
Another example of less than perfect pruning is where local councils use heavy duty hedging shears to annually prune the roses that grow in public areas to save costs. Obviously these roses are more your bush variety rather than your hybrid teas, but even hybrid teas survive a less than perfect pruning.
I’m not recommending that we all start using shears to prune our roses or make a shoddy job of it, but I am trying to make the point that you don’t have to break into a sweat worrying over whether you’ve pruned your roses to the exact specifications of the experts.
I will be writing some more articles about pruning roses the “right” way but if you make a mistake, don’t worry about it. Roses are very forgiving plants – they don’t know or care if you’ve made a cut at the right angle or to an outward facing bud, they just keep on producing flowers regardless.
When I first started growing roses, before I became a horticulturalist, I would get out a rose book and try to follow the directions for pruning roses – trying to cut it at the right angle and to an outward facing bud, and half the time I got it wrong but my roses still grew beautifully. So just remember if it’s not done perfectly don’t stress.
With every annual pruning you will become more confident and get a better feel for how to go about it and realise that you can’t really go wrong, even if you don’t do a ‘perfect’ pruning job..