Before you attempt to prune your climbing rose, you have to be certain that it is a climbing 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.
The annual pruning of your climbing rose takes place once you have the basic framework.
Try to get a framework of stems trained horizontally along wires or trellis framework. There will be more rose flowers from horizontal stems than vertical upright stems.
Once you have a framework of horizontal stems - after two to three years - then you are into the regime of pruning your climbing rose each year.
From the horizontal older framework of branches on your climbing roses, you will find new shoots will sprout along the main branches from early spring. In early summer - or right after flowering, if they flower - cut back these shoots to within 4-6in of the main lateral stems. The new shoots that then grow from these pruning cuts, will be your flowering shoots for next year. Depending upon variety, these new shoots will grow to around 10-12in and produce flowers early summer the following year.
Climbing roses flower best on stems that were produced the previous year, so pruning of your climbing rose each summer is important if you are to obtain the best results for the following year.
The images below can be enlarged by clicking. Left image shows climbing rose immediately after flowering - note the recently flowered growths. Right image, shows how the rose will be pruned in order to get more new shoots for flowering next year.
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.
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.
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).
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