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How do I look after these rose bushes?

Hi :) I made a thread yesterday with a generalized "help!" but now to ask more plant specific questions! 

So the previous owner had many roses..  can a lovely gardener help an anxious beginner learn the basics? 😀  I  have watched some videos but some advice tailored to me would be very much appreciated! These are just the ones in the front garden but hopefully your advice will teach me to do the others!

How far should I cut these back or does it matter? Am I only removing the heads of the dead/dieing roses or the whole stem? Do any of these look diseased? Finally, is the 4th one even a rose? 


  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,891
    Fliq said:

    How far should I cut these back or does it matter? Am I only removing the heads of the dead/dieing roses or the whole stem? Do any of these look diseased? Finally, is the 4th one even a rose? 

    Have a look here:

    and I'm not an expert, but I think the last one is a rose. I would guess that the big fat 'berries' are rose hips - what you get if you don't dead-head the flowers. They can be very attractive in the winter, birds often like to eat them, they won't do the rose any harm at all. You can prune that one in the early spring instead. Most of my roses have rose hips - I do very little cutting back in autumn because I like to let the wildlife have food and cover through the winter. I take it on in Spring, as a rule.

    As a general response (and to your other thread), established plants will never die from being left to get on with things. They may struggle a bit in very dry weather, they may flower or fruit less than ones that have been cosseted (and then again, they may flower more). If you think about it, it wouldn't be a good survival plan for any plant to rely on someone pruning it to stop it dying. 

    But one plant may get very big and another one under it may lose light and begin to get leggy, trying to reach the sun. They can get diseases of course, but that's often not something you would have been able to prevent anyway - just treat sooner possibly. Plants that don't do well in our cool climate need more attention, but given your situation, you'll probably not keep them alive anyway - things like dahlias and tomatoes need much more work. You can get to those someday, when you have time on your hands. The others you can find out what they are, decide if you like them or not and then cut back monsters or move strugglers or whatever needs doing. A little at a time, when you have time. It doesn't all need to be done every year, or any year.

    I would always advise anyone moving to a new garden to wait a year and just mow the grass before doing anything more. That way you get to know your plants a bit better before you start chopping them about. A little neglect does no harm, and can do good for the wildlife.

    Take your time. It'll be fine. :)
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,317
    Why we ‘dead-head’ roses (down the stem to the next set of healthy leaves, not just snipping off the bloom directly behind it) is to encourage more blooms and prolong the flowering season, but once they are left to their own devices and form hips, they think, ok then, thats it for the season, I’m going to hunker down until spring. As most of yours have reached that stage, I would leave them too it and enjoy the colourful hips. 

    Roses are tough plants, so don’t be scared of them (although I was at first!) but some of your roses are planted very close to the wall, which is not ideal as they will dry out quickly and may be starved of nutrients - probably why you see a bunch of what looks like dead brown stuff here and there. The grass and other stuff that has crept close to the base of the stems won’t help either as this is competition for nutrients.

    I think all I would do at this stage is clear a little circle about a foot all around the base of each rose of grass, weeds, etc., and give them a mulch of fresh compost, but not directly touching the stems at the base, kind of a donut shaped ring. I would also be itching to get the secateurs out to prune out the obviously dead stuff - this will be brown and brittle right through - you could prune a small bit off to check - if it has a pale whitish green centre it’s still alive so leave it. Or you can take Fairygirl’s good advice and leave it all until spring  :)

    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FliqFliq Posts: 8
    Thank you both! I have learnt so much already by the responses of both threads and I really do appreciate the time you have taken to respond :) I have spent my afternoon researching and weeding. My daughter is excited to water the garden when she returns from nursery. 
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