Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Prune those roses 

THE last of the roses should be pruned by now.

With modern hybrid roses, do not be afraid to prune fairly hard, even if the leaves have started to develop on the branches you remove.

The idea is to encourage vigorous growth from quite low down on the plants, as these will be carrying the main flush of flowers.

Take each main stem and look down the outside for a well-formed bud, about half to two thirds the way down. Cut cleanly just above this bud. Hygiene is very important. Be sure to clear away every scrap of rose prunings, leaves, stems and all, composting them or burning them.

Old-fashioned roses and types that flower only once should not be pruned now - these flower on last year's growth and if cut back now, you will lose most of the flowers.

Prune them lightly in summer, immediately after flowering.

Pests and diseases on roses are unlikely to show up just yet, but be ready for them. A preventive spray against black spot, applied as soon as the leaves have begun to emerge, is not a bad idea.

However careful you are, and however clean your soil is, weeds will always be a threat unless you have a strict weed policy. Act now, and potential weed problems will be nipped in the bud.

Seedling weeds are emerging wherever soil has been distributed. All you need to do is hoe lightly and they are gone. In pathways and other areas where there are no plants, a chemical weed spray is the easiest form of weed control.

Perennial weeds present a bigger challenge. Before their creeping root stocks have invaded areas, spot treat them with weed killers such as Glyphosate, several times if necessary.