Boost shrub roses with pruning

A good trim will keep them growing well

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There are two things that help your roses flower and grow really well each year, and that’s lots of feeding and excellent pruning.

Giving them their annual trim also keeps them in good shape and helps them not get too tall, spindly and leggy. Shrub roses are best done in February, though if the weather in your area turns harsh, as it so often does these days in late winter, leave it till March.

Young roses – those that you’ve only grown and flowered for one season – should be sparingly trimmed. That is, any overlong shoots cut back to fit in with the rest of the shape, and flowering shoots trimmed by a few inches. In year two, prune a little more – cut back all stems by a third.

Each year after that, you can prune mature roses how you wish – perhaps a full renovation is in order, or alternatively you wish to create a taller plant? For a full on cut, prune back stems by at least a half, or to grow a taller rose bush don’t prune very much at all – under a third off each stem.

Never fear pruning roses – they’re resilient and will spring back if over- or under-pruned. Here’s some tips on getting it right.