Dead heading and summer pruning on roses

Well that’s the first and only time that I shall use the word dead heading in this blog, it’s such a negative word so let’s use a more positive one that describes the old flowers perfect, spent bloom removal, see more up lifting straight away!

I have also now labelled it as part of summer pruning of roses. I prefer to do the main prune during the late winter months but doing a little bit of summer pruning can help the plant to become stronger, healthier plants.

First of all, spent bloom removal is really just needed on repeat flowering roses to encourage more flowers to appear and also open a little quicker. With once flowering roses, there’s no real need to remove the old blooms but just a cosmetic reasons

Removing the blooms is pretty easy,

with the multi headed flowering type of roses you can thin out the spent blooms as they finish or wait until the whole floret has finish and then prune back down to the first full set of leaves. Why the first set of leaves? Well can it’s just helping to plant to maximise the water and nutrients by removing a section of wood that is going to die back down to that bud anyway. It is also well worth looking at the plant and seeing where it wants to be cut, some roses are very helpful and start sending up a new shoot where it wants to regrow.

Removing the odd flower in the middle of a bunch of flowers

Or taking the spent bloom down to the first full leaf

This rose shows that perfectly and you can see I have trimmed it down to just above with new shoot.

I also tend to carry out a slightly heavier spent bloom removal or indeed summer pruning of roses that have produced stems that are to thin to hold the weight of the flowers. This is tends to happen on the once flowering roses and the English rose type and the simple way to reduce the weight on these branches, is to remove the spent bloom to a lower bud and even to thin out the branches as below. This help to lift the branches off the ground

A branch hanging over with the weight of the flowers

To help to reduce the weight I am thinning out some of the stems

And then trimming back the spent blooms a little harder

The finished branch with weight reduced

The other part of summer pruning is to remove any dead branches and any branches at the base of the plant that have simply done nothing since pruning in the winter. Yes it could be done in the winter but removing these bits of wood now again helps the plant to use the water and nutrients more efficiently. It also can improve air flow though the plant and help to reduce fungal infections

This is the type of growth I am talking about

The finished cleaned plant

Equipment wise I tend to use garden snips sold by Niwaki, to carry out spent bloom removal, mainly as the thinner points and lightness makes them ideal tool to use. secateurs are brilliant for the heavier form of summer pruning, I carry both using this great double holster

Well I hope you enjoyed this blog on summer pruning of summer roses

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. karen says:

    Yes I did thank you Thomas. Very easy to understand. It reminded me of all the stages of rose pruning. All the best. Karen

  2. tonytomeo says:

    This is one of those many jobs that is rarely done properly. If it is done at all, it is usually not as aggressive as it should be, leaving copious volumes of superfluous growth in which pathogens proliferate. Well, that will hopefully get pruned out in winter.

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