My rose has long suckers and it’s not a great shape. How do I prune it so it’s a nice shape when it flowers again in the summer. How do I get rid of the suckers and when is the best time to do it?
First, check to ensure that the long suckers are coming from the actual rose variety and not from the rootstock that the rose is grafted onto. The rootstock that most New Zealand roses are grafted on to has a habit of producing very long suckers. Once you have established that the suckers are from the rose variety, they should be shortened back considerably, at least half their length, pruning to an outward-facing bud.
Roses are best pruned when all growth has finished, and the plant is dormant (winter).
Remove any dead wood, growth that is thinner than a pencil, and any growth that is facing inwards. Always aim to retain young, vigorous growth, while at the same time removing some of the very old wood.
Give your rose bushes a ‘clean-up’ spray of a copper compound immediately after pruning is completed, this will help prevent infection of black spot and rust next summer. Remove all leaves and pruned branches as these are potential sites for overwintering pests and diseases.
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