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This is probably a daft question, but when gardening mags and books say don't prune roses in time of frosts, what exactly do they mean? If there was a frost in the morning, but it's gone by lunchtime can you prune in the afternoon? If the weatherforecast says frost for the next day can you prune the day before? Or does it just mean don't prune while there is frost at the time of pruning? Though why should one want to? Most uncomfortable and chilly!


I think they mean the sort of hard frosts that would damage the resulting new shoots. 


I have always read this as saying don't prune too early say in December/ January as any news shoots stimulated to grow could get nipped back by frosts.

At moment we have positive temperatures during the day but negative ones during the night. I am wondering whether it is still too soon to prune fruit trees (or anything else that should be pruned now) as the tissue around the new cut would probably be damaged by the minus temperatures during the night.

What do you think?


I think you are over analysing this-pruning is mostly done in the dormant period before the sap rises-on your theory this would never get done as this is usually is in the winter period when frost is likely at night any time -and if you dont prune now and wait for frosts to go the window of opportunity has gone

So you prune now



Roses too ?  I thought I had read somewhere that I should leave rose pruning tl March


Always do mine from any time now-some from postings on this forum have already done it

It is conditions not calendar that surely dictates-I would say now to Mid-March depending on area


OK - thanks.  Secateurs here I come !

Woodgreen wonderboy

Some also say that if you spray your roses against rust etc. that this is best done when the plant first starts bud bursting i.e. don't wait until in full leaf. So whatever time you prune keep an eye on the growth and be prepared to act soonest.

Just one drawback this year...the manufacturer of Roseclear3, the main spray available to poor souls such as we, has halved the strength of the product, but has not lowered the price. The change is in the smal print on the side of the packet. Last year it made 20L of spray, this year it only makes10L. Now there's a nice surprise for everyone.

I pruned our roses a few weeks back but this new cold snap has killed all the new leaves, I wonder whether to prune a bit lower down or just take off the dead leaves.

I'm only just pruning mine now, much later than I normally would as I'm near the south coast. 

They've put on so little growth though, my reasoning is if it feels a month later than usual to us temperature wise, it probably does to them too. 

I've not taken as much off as I normally would with the hybrid teas, because I'm pruning to invigorate them, not exhaust them if they've already put all that energy into new growth already. I also tend to prune as I pick roses or deadhead during the summer, back to the next outward facing bud, so didn't have to cut much or anything off now anyway on the english roses. 

I'm only just doing the climbers too, but am just tipping the dead bits off really as they're mostly only a year or two old. 

I hope I get away with it, I have lots of roses & want lots of blooms!



I pruned mine last week but would have left it later if I could but I've had foot surgery again this week so needed to get it done before I got laid up for a few weeks.   After this winter there was more dead wood than usual and not a leaf on any but some good looking buds starting to swell so fingers crossed.  I didn't do the ones over on the more exposed east side as they risk getting knocked back by a late frost so will ahve to take their chances with a late prune.

You definitely have to go with weather conditions and not calendars.


Thank you everyone for the replies.

I hope your foot recovers quickly Obelixx, very inconvenient time of year!

My roses are all shooting like mad now, finished pruning by end of March.

Help I pruned my roses yesterday in warm sunshine and a good week of warmer weather and  behold a heavy frost here today. I am mortified  should I wrap them up in bandages or will loving words of encouragement be enough  I always pruned them before in Autumn but all advice says Feb to get the best blooms so thought it OK What a mistake


Too late for bandages.   Frost expands the cells which can lead to damage in unhealed pruning wounds and introduce die-back or disease.

Cross your fingers, feed the roses and keep an eye on them for a few weeks as any problems won't show immediately.  Then, if they do look damaged at the ends, prune back to healthy outward facing buds when there is no frost forecast.   



I also was wondering about the pruning as my roses are shooting lots of new growth, much earlier than usual. I do them in March each year but as most stuff in the garden is ahead of itself I wondered if I should do them. They are in a south facing bed so they get lots of sunshine all day.


Each year seems different. In 2013, when this thread started, the spring was very cold. We went to Hever Castle for the rose week and there were no roses out so it was cancelled. Last spring 2014 was very mild and wet. Roses were 3 - 4 weeks earlier than 2013. This year has been quite cold, with snow, but it seems as though it will be earlier than 2013 too.

I did mine today as they had quite a lot of new growth and they weren't well pruned last year due to my lack of knowledge. One of my climbers has stayed in full leaf all winter, it is in a sheltered spot mind.

I have pruned roses at all times during the winter months from November right through till yesterday. Unless it's a prolonged spell of really cold weather, i.e. below freezing throughout the day for days on end, which it hasn't been this year, the roses will be fine, and those I pruned back in December now have lovely fat new buds.


03/01/16 - Help

For the first time I have just bought 5 rose bushes which have loads of new shoots and leaves. If I plant them out side now will the frost kill them off?  When is the best time to plant the outside and what is the best soil the use :}