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Pruning standard roses

I HAVE never seen advice for pruning standard roses. I have three, but I am not happy with them (and nor are they). They are in a fairly exposed area and the new lush growth gets ripped off. They also have a tendency to drop all their leaves after heavy rain. Can I cut lower down the standard to produce a smaller plant - will they shoot away? They are 'Graham Thomas' (right), 'Loving Memory' and 'Pristine'.


PRUNING standard roses is very similar to bush roses, except that a standard is a bush variety grafted onto the top of another rose. The base or stock is grown into a long trunk, and the top or scion wood is grafted on top. You can have tall and short standards depending on where the scion is grafted. This means you can NOT cut the base or stock, as it will not re-shoot unless you re-graft the scion wood on again.

Prune standard roses in winter by taking out any old, dead or diseased wood ABOVE the graft. Take out some of the centre branches, as this helps to create good airflow, and reduces the risk of high infestations of insects and fungal problems. Prune back by at least half to two thirds.

Continue with your usual winter spray programme of Conqueror Oil and Champion Copper. Do this until spring growth appears and later swap to Shield, Super Shield, Bravo or Confidor for summer spraying.

If your standards are getting blown around a lot, it may pay to shift them this winter to a more sheltered spot. Stake them well and feed with liquid fertiliser in spring to encourage new growth. Put Yates Magamp in the hole if you are replanting. This helps encourage good root growth.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 101, 2002, Page 20

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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