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Rose pruning and frost

Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,160

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!

Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.


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

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

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    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.image

  • Fred7Fred7 Posts: 1

    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?

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    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 goneimage

    So you prune nowimage

  • chickychicky Posts: 10,400

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

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

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

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

  • chickychicky Posts: 10,400

    OK - thanks.  Secateurs here I come !

  • 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.

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,084
    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.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • LokelaniLokelani Posts: 112

    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!


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