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Overgrown rose bush

SBailsSBails Posts: 3



We moved house last year and have inherited a rose bush in the front garden. I have no idea what variety it is but I don’t think it’s had much care in the past.


It’s about 50 cm round but has grown to over 6ft tall; many of the branches are brown and woody looking whilst some are very green. It flowered in summer last year through to winter.


I would like to prune it back to a shorter height but as a novice gardener I’m not sure when the best time to do this is or how aggressive I can be with pruning. I have been told that it’s no longer the original rose that is flowering.


Please help!  



  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Roses are very resilient-it sounds as though drastic action is required-you can prune back very hard and they will recover-though flowering this year may be slighty affected

    I usually prune from Mid- February onwards but if you wish to remove some of the rubbish now and say 2 foot of top growth it will not do any harm-and then do a proper prune in a few weeks when the new shoots will start appearing

    The other concern is "not the original roses flowering"-unless that is a sucker then that is odd-perhaps a bit more info?

    You will also need to feed after the main pruning.

  • SBailsSBails Posts: 3

    Many thanks for the advice.

    I think I do need to cut back quite a lot as it just keeps getting taller.

    I’m not very experienced but my neighbour told me it wasn’t the original rose flowering anymore. The flowering stems are the tallest and quite thin, the others are brown and woody. The base is all brown/ woody and the branches, green and brown come out from above ground level. I’m afraid that it just seems to have been left to grow into quite a mess!

    Many thanks for your help

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Unless it is something fantastic-it might be better to dig out and replace with a brand new one

    If you do that you must replace the soil with some from another part of the garden not just plant in the same spot-that avoids something called roses sickness.

    Also remember that pruning stimulates growth-but unpruned roses will just keep getting taller and taller.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    What were the flowers like, did you like them? 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • SBailsSBails Posts: 3

    Thanks for the good advice. I'm afraid it's not fantastic so I'll try pruning first and if that fails it may have to go.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    Advice from an oldie. If it's not fantastic and it's a mess, do as sotogeoff suggests.  There are fantastic roses and other shrubs around, the sooner you get one planted the sooner you'll have something good.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Good planting time now for bare rooted varieties as well-not that we are ganging upimage

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    Of course we're not! Just passing on the experience of our own errors (in my case)


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    There are a few things to consider here. Are the branches that flowered growing from below the graft (a thickening of the main stem sometimes just above or below soil level). If it comes from below the graft and it is an oldish plant then it could have reverted to the root stock, probably rosa canina or dog rose (?). These days they are grafted onto apple root stock so there is no danger of these 'suckers' which are very vigorous and take energy away from the rest of the plant. The other thing to consider is as mentioned above, the danger of rose repeat disease and according to a T.V. programme about a year or so ago, you can avoid having to replace/sterilise earth by planting the new rose in a cardboard box. By the time the roots grow through it the plant is strong enough to withstand whatever causes this disease. image

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