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Pruning Rambling Roses - Ramblers 

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.

Remedial Treatment for overgrown Rambling Roses

Basal growth after a hard pruning cut

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

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.


Pruning Protection

This is common sense really, when you prune any plant, bush or tree, there is a transfer of sap from your plant to your pruning shears or secateurs then you prune a different plant and the sap is transfered. What if the first plant was diseased? You would be protentially infecting all the plants you are pruning. Always, between plants, disinfect your pruning shears or secateurs to stop the transfer of any protential diseases. Roses suffer from a few diseases like Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Stem Canker & Dieback, Rust, Botrytis Blight, Rose Rosette Disease and Rose Mosaic.

There are many methods, one of the easiest methods is a disinfectant spray and a soft cloth, just spray and wipe between plants.

Pruning protect also applys to us, roses have thornes, something we are all aware of, so please use a decent pair of gloves and long sleaves when pruning roses.

How and When to Prune a Climbing Rose?

The white mark show the pruning cuts that should be made in summer on this climbing rose.

Before you attempt to prune your climbing rose, you have to be certain that it is a climbing rose and not a rambling rose type! A quick, more or less fail-proof test, is to ensure that your climbing rose has its leaves in groups of five leaflets.

 Once you establish that you have Climbing Rose and not a Rambler, then follow the pruning advice below.

For the first two or three years after planting, your new climbing rose will not require any pruning. During this initial period, your climbing roses should send up a few long stems, which can be trained into a basic framework for your future climbing rose's shape.

How and When to Prune a Rose?

Rose Pruning cutting from Heirloom Roses

If you do not prune your rose bush, you will end up with a tall tangle of old stems - some of which will be dead and which are devoid of foliage lower down - so you end up with a rose bush which is many feet tall with just a few weal flowers on the top. Nothing but bare prickly stems lower down. It stands to reason, that if the flowers are further away from the root system (Food supply) then they will receive less food to produce strong healthy blooms.


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