Ideally, you will be reading this because you have just bought a Rambling Rose and wish to know how to prune it. In reality, you probably have a very overgrown Rambling Rose that needs to be pruned. We will deal with the subject of pruning overgrown rambling roses first!
It might seem an impossible task in hand, and if very overgrown or neglected, will need a bit of willpower (and sturdy gloves).
After you have accomplished the task, you can sit back, relax and watch your rambler grow into a more orderly shrub - with a little help of course. But it is normally well worth the effort.
Image shows new basal growth after a low pruning cut.
As the name suggests, Rambling roses tend to produce vigorous rambling main stems, from which a multitude of smaller stems emerge and complete the tangle that is known as the Rambling Rose! It will have just a few flowers on this mass of intertwined rose stems. Sounds familiar, then read on!
All Rambling Roses produce this vigorous growth which must be managed properly in order to get the best flower out of your rose. The best flowers on Ramblers, are produced on the stems which were made in the previous season/year. If the rose is allowed to go unchecked, then there will be fewer and fewer new stems resulting in an eventual dearth of flowers.
With your established tangle, the best way forward, is to reduce the number of stems at ground level to around 5 or 6. These should be young vigorous growths.Older stems which support a huge network of 'tangles' further up the rose should be cut out carefully. It will probably take quite a few cuts to rid yourself of the tangles - but it has to be done. This remedial treatment can be carried out in summer or autumn.
Give the rejuvenated rose a feed of Fish Blood and Bonemeal - or any other Rose fertilizer that you fancy!
Once you have managed this first stage with your overgrown rambling rose, and now have five or six strong stems, you can proceed as per the pruning instructions below.
Pruning Rambling roses is best carried out in the summer - immediately after the flush of flowers. Prune all side shoots back by about two thirds, or back to around three buds from the main stem. You should also completely discard some of the older shoots by cutting out at or near ground level. This will encourage new shoots to grow from the base, which in turn will provide the flowering growths for subsequent years.
Tie in all the new growths as soon as they reach a manageable size. Don't forget that Rambling Roses are best suited for growing upwards - over arches etc or up through trees, whilst climbing roses are best suited to horizontal training.
The Pruning Rambling Roses and Climbing Roses is quite similar. The main difference being in the habit of growth. Rambling roses tend to have one main flush of flowers. Climbing roses can be repeat flowering throughout the summer.
Whichever, the pruning of Rambling or Climbing Roses is essential for continuation of flowers and healthy growth.