Pruning Climbing Roses.
Lots of gardeners have lots of ideas on pruning climbing roses but here is an overview of the basic principles.
When to prune – Ideally they should be pruned in late winter but can also be pruned later in the early spring just before the shoots start to appear.In a hard winter this later pruning is often better to produce stronger growth that will not be cut back by early frosts.
What you are looking to achieve with climbing roses with regards to pruning – ideally you are looking to maintain a healthy framework that will support lots of flowers.In general you are looking to remove older stems 3 to 4 years old and encourage new stems to take the place of the removed stems.
First you need to remove all the disease and dead areas of the stems.Next remove all the stems that are crossing and rubbing on other stems causing damage.Then take a good look at the plant and figure out which are the older stems normally thicker and brown in colour.Your aim is to remove some of these stems down to below a metre from the base to allow new stems to grow.If you have not done this before then just start by removing 25 percent of the existing stems to start a 5 to 6 year cycle of removing older stems and regrowing new stems.
Next with younger stems and younger stems coming from the main stems these should be trained horizontally as this will produce the most flowers as the plant will create flower buds all the way along a horizontal stem as against a vertical stem where the flowers will mainly be produced on top of the stem.
Once established a climbing rose is a very forgiving plant and will recover from most mistakes you make in pruning.The Gardenadvice Team often cut down old woody out of control established roses to a metre above the ground to start to rebuild the framework of branches and flowers normally taking only two to three seasons for the plants to recover and start to flower profusely again.
Finally roses grow very quickly so need lots of nutrients and water and this is why they do so well on heavy soils often clay.In the spring these soils hold lots of available water and nutrients to support this fast grow.So it’s a good idea to feed your roses in the spring and add a mulch around the base of the rose plant to help prevent water loss from the soil.