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How to look after roses in autumn


Give your roses some TLC during autumn to get them safely through the winter and ensure they're healthy, vigorous and full of flowers next year.

How to do it

Faded rose flowers that are starting to rot


Snip off any soggy, shrivelled blooms to prevent rot setting in. But just remove the petals from any that are starting to form hips, so you can enjoy their winter display.

Picking up fallen leaves infected with blackspot


Pick off and bin any remaining foliage that shows signs of disease, such as blackspot, mildew or rust. Also collect any infected leaves that have fallen on to the ground, as these can carry over diseases from one year to the next.

Planting a rose bush


Autumn is a good time to transplant any rose bushes that are in the wrong position. You can also plant new ones, as they'll have time to get established before winter arrives.

Pruning off a stem that has died back


Prune out dead, damaged or crossing stems from shrub roses in autumn. Aim to create an open-centred framework to encourage good air-flow through the plant.

Pruning roses


Shorten the stems of tall bush roses to reduce wind-rock during winter gales, as this can loosen and damage the roots. Cut stems just above an outward-facing bud wherever possible.

Thinning out a standard rose


Thin out the heads of standard roses (shaped like lollipops, on a single tall stem). Their rounded heads can catch the wind and even snap off completely in a severe storm.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to look after roses in autumn
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dahliaslave 26/09/2013 at 22:39

I have been told it's best to prune roses in January

It seems to do them no harm. Should I change to atum pruning?

fidgetbones 27/09/2013 at 06:02

I think with new  rose plants, if they have finished flowering,then taking off some of the top growth in autumn will reduce wind rock in winter storms. However if you hard prune down now, you run the risk of fresh new growth being damaged by frosts.I would do the hard prune down in March, and give a feed at the same time. I treat buddlejas the same.

chicky 27/09/2013 at 06:59

I agree with fidget - cut down any tall growth in autumn ( by about a third) to stop wind rock, then prune properly in about March, avoiding very frosty periods. I then feed with potash in March and mulch with manure, then feed with rose food end April and again in June.

X 27/09/2013 at 08:43

Same here DahliaSlave, March plus an organic feed and mulch.

star gaze lily 27/09/2013 at 11:54

Books say now or march-early april depending on weather. I usually do mine around march time and they always look ok  

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