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Old rose bush looks awful, pruning ideas please

I am a very amateur been keen to learn gardener. The rose plant in the front garden is very old (c. 60 yrs possibly), thorny and leggy. I want to prune it so it looks healthy, less thorny and beautiful but I don't know what to do. Is there anything I can do at this point in the summer? Any advice appreciated.

many thanks

photos provided. imageimage



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    The problem is that it hasn't been pruned well and has grown to be too 'leggy' so leaves and flowers are now only high up.  When flowering is over you can cut it back by about a third to half to prevent wind damage over winter.  In about March next year, cut it back to about knee height.  It will grow new stems and be less leggy. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy Posts: 6,414

    Absolutely and after the March Pruning feed with Blood Fish Bone or a propriety Rose fertiliser hoe it into the ground. Then Mulch well it will love it & reward you well.

    AB Still learning

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    first reduce the whole plant by half now. this will encourage side and basal shoots.

    also you can remove the largest branch you can find to the lowest youngest looking branch (young shoots look green, old ones look brown), then next year you can remove the other oldest branch.

    then give it a good feed with a rose fertilizer

  • rubyemrubyem Posts: 2

    Thanks all. Hopefully that will help. Are the multiple thorny thorns just a fact if life for an older plant?

  • B3B3 Posts: 26,433

    I think I have the same one as you. The older stems are a lot thornier but I think it's to do with the variety more than the age.

    When a long branch has finished flowering, I prune it back to just above a bud that is pointing in the right direction. I do this throughout the flowering season.

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    I have a neighbour who has 6 very old tall leggy rose bushes. ......I know his wife died shortly after I moved here, almost 5 years ago,   I was wondering would it be too cheeky to offer to cut them back for him or should I just mind my own business and say/do nothing?  

    Advice please. 

    Last edited: 18 August 2017 15:47:16

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,033

    Have you got any roses of your own?  If so, when you're about to prune yours could you pop your head over the fence and say something like "I'm just going to give my roses a good seeing to and a dose of fertiliser... would you like me to do the same to yours while I'm about it?"

    A mug of tea and a slice of home made cake and a discussion about  gardening, and a neighbour can become a friend image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    Dove. .....he lives in the house about 6 doors away. chatting over the fence wouldn't work.   He's quite elderly. .....but it's obvious that at some time his garden was well minded and loved.   I'm in 2 minds as to what to wouldn't take much to bring his roses back to their former beauty. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,033

    Then if he's at all approachable I'd pop around with a large wedge of coffee and walnut sponge ( most gentlemen of a certain age are very amenable when given coffee & walnut sponge, I find image) and explain that you're a slightly bonkers gardener who would love to prune his roses. 

    Whats the worst that can happen?  He can tell you to go away.  The best that can happen is that you make him smile ... No contest in my book image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,901

    "love to prune his roses"

    ...or help him to prune his roses. Men are funny creatures even with cake. image 

    "I'll give you a hand if you like..." That kind of thing.

    Good luck.

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