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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 dry-looking) and then cut about ⅓ of the length off all the remaining healthy fresh stems.
It's good practice to cut each stem down to just above an outward-facing bud. If you’re a bit unsure, here's a more detailed rundown on pruning.
You can even use sharp hedge shears or loppers rather than secateurs, if that's what you have. It’s always better to have a go at pruning roses than to leave them unpruned. It's harder to mess it up than you think!
2. Spraying - Spray with Yates Lime Sulfur concentrate – once the rose is pruned, it’s a great chance for a protective spray. Lime sulfur 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 attack new spring stems. Breaking their life cycle during winter will help give the rose the best possible fresh start in spring. In warmer areas Lime Sulfur will also defoliate the leaves, forcing the plant into true dormancy which means...more flowers!
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.