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Rose pruning ensures that plants grow vigorously and flower well each year. Most groundcover roses, whether shrubby or rambler types, require only light pruning. Many flower just once in summer and will bloom for years with little formal pruning. These roses fall into RHS Pruning group 19.
Pruning a ground cover rose.
Roses can be pruned during late winter when growth is just resuming, usually mid-February in the south, but in northern and colder areas wait until March.
Groundcover roses tend to flower profusely, which does make deadheading quite a job. But, it is beneficial to the plant if you can deadhead after flowering.
Start by removing all dead, diseased, damaged, weak and spindly shoots. Then, depending on the type of groundcover rose, proceed as follows:
These small shrubs need little or no routine pruning, but when they outgrow their situation, the following steps can be taken:
The long flexible stems of these roses root as they spread along the ground and may reach 3m (10ft) or more in length, with the side shoots producing a mound of flowers and foliage.
To prune other types of roses, see our advice topics below;
Other than cutting off a useful stem by mistake (they usually regrow), there are few problems. However, you may notice the following pests or diseases while pruning; rose aphids, rose large sawfly, rose leaf rolling sawfly, rose black spot, rose dieback, rose powdery mildew and rose rust.
Blindness (lack of flowers) can also be a problem in roses.
Roses: choosing the best
Roses: growing in containers
Rose pruning: general tips
Royal National Rose Society
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In this fully revised edition, you’ll find updated advice by the RHS experts on what, when and how to prune.
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