Pruning once flowering rambling roses

Pruning roses always seem to have a mist of confusion around them, no matter where I go, who I talk too or indeed listen too, roses are one plant that leaves them confused when it comes to pruning. What to prune, when to prune, taking too much off, not taking enough off. It’s no wonder really with so much Conflicting advice around in books, the internet, magazines and on telly. Hopefully over the next couple of years, I will go through my own methods of pruning and hopefully explain how I get the best from the roses I look after and hopefully make it a little clearer! 
To prune any plant no matter what it is, you have to know not only what it is, how it flowers and grows but also what you want from it. Now the first two I can help with but the 3rd is down to you to decide. First of all what it is the difference between rambling and climbing roses, this is the hardest part for most people, so many times I get asked what is the difference between a rambler and a climber. A climbing rose is basically a shrub or bush rose that grows too big to be grown without any support, as a shrub or bush rose it needs a framework of wood 2+years old in the plant to allow it to flower the best. While a rambler is the true climber, it uses long growths to scrabble over anything it’s path whether it’s a tree, building, rock face or even the ground. These new growths can be up to 25ft in one year depending on the variety grown. These new stems are the best for producing flowers the following year, i.e. Wood that’s  1 year old at time of flowering. The 2nd year old wood tends to produce smaller flowers on the growths, but also produces new longer stems further from the base which maybe too long to use on a frame or a structure. These long and mainly flexible current growing stems makes them ideal for wrapping around features like poles, ropes and arches. This also encourages the rose to flower from the bottom to the top. There are 2 types of ramblers, the repeat flowering and the once flowering. It is the once flowering ones we are looking at during this blog. Again once flowering rambling can be divided up into 2 types, those who produce hips and those that don’t. Pruning is the same for both, just the hip forming ones can be done in February while the none hip forms can be done now or once they have flowered. Reason being that all the flowering wood is removed to encourage these new growths to grow even more. This is because with removing the flowered wood, it puts more effort and energy into the new wood and this will grow even more  after pruning. That said a weekly feed of liquid seaweed and a handful of vitax Q4 after pruning will help it to grow even more. I hope the picture guide will help explain it even more 

The rambling rose once it’s finished flowering showing both flowered wood and new growth
The new growth! This is what you want! Please please please don’t cut these off, try and tie in during the season before flowering
Prune back the flowered stems to a nice new growth, always find its best to do this for all stems can thin out older ones or not as good ones after you have finished and have a chance to review what’s left
Once I have pruned the stem, I lay it at right angles to the base of the plant so it out of the way and all together
Once all the flowered wood is pruned away, I start tying in the new growth, using the longest ones growing from the base if possible, tying them to cover as much as possible
I like to use a figure of 8 knot to secure the new growth to the fixings, don’t tie it too tight or the string will dig into the plant as it grows
I try and train the stems in curves to encourage as many breaks of the flower growths next year as I can, it can also be useful to cover a bigger space with the really long growths, the shorter ones I use to cover the bare patches near the base of the plant.
The finished pruned plant, note the amount of waste produced, pruning like this does produce a lot of waste, all there is left to do now is feed the plant with Vitax Q4 and tie in the new growth once every 2weeks and enjoy the flowers next summer
The rose flowering the following year
This rambling rector is spread out more but is still pruned the same way
This rambler is pruned the same way but the new growths are wrapped around the pillar, going both clock and anti-clockwise
The new growths can be turned into any shape you like and will flower well!

Really they are that easy, just a case of removing the old flowered wood and tie in the new stems, they are really as simple as that. I tend to use just my silky pruning saw, my trust Tobisho SR1 secateurs to prune and nutscene 3ply twine to tie in. 

I hope you enjoyed the blog and found it useful! 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Very useful Thomas…I always get confused with how much to prune, which way to tie them in (ie sideways or up) and the difference between a rambler and climbing rose! This post has been very helpful, thank you!
    Thank you for linking to #MyGloriousGardens. As a professional gardener, its lovely to have you as part of our little community. You may find John’s blog useful if you haven’t discovered it yet. Pop back to the linky for a closer look.
    I will round up and post next week. x

    Like

  2. Thank you for this great post! It’s always difficult knowing where to start with huge old ramblers, but they look fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thomashort says:

      Thank you 😀 yes indeed they always look hard to start don’t they, love pruning them I must admit

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fran says:

    Thanks Thomas….Most folks shy away from tackling the ramblers, then they get to the point of no return (they think). This post makes it clear and simple for all. Easy to understand and follow. Fran

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thomashort says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely feedback Fran, very much appreciated, it’s great to know I am getting it out the way I hoped I would 😀

      Like

  4. Thanks for this really clear guidance. I have a rambler over an arch which I can’t allow to get too big. It flowers really well so my current pruning regime can’t be too bad but it is a hell of a tangle. I think I’m more confident now to strip out much more of it, with a clearer idea of which stems I need to keep.

    Liked by 1 person

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