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To promote healthy rose bushes and a fabulous floral display, there are 2 simple rose care steps to take during winter:
1. Pruning – Winter pruning, when the roses are leafless, is the ideal time to completely remove any dead stems (which are usually grey) and then cut all the remaining healthy stems down to around knee height (apart from standard or ‘lollipop’ roses).
If you have time, prune each stem to just above an outward facing bud. If you’re time poor or a bit unsure, then take no notice of the buds!
You can even use hedge shears or loppers rather than secateurs. It’s better to prune roses than not at all.
2. Spraying - Spray with Yates Lime Sulfur concentrate – once the rose is pruned, it’s a great chance to spray with lime sulfur, which is a smelly but very effective way to help break the rose pest cycle.
Used at the higher ‘winter rate’, Yates Lime Sulfur concentrate will help control scale insects, which are lying in wait on rose stems during winter, ready to infect new spring stems. Breaking the pest cycle during winter will help give the rose the best possible fresh start in spring. In warmer area's it will also defoliate, forcing the plant into true dormancy which means...more flowers as the plant is well rested.
Pruning tip: if you live in a really cold area, delay pruning until August as pruning can stimulate new leaf growth which could be damaged by frosts.