Everything imaginable is done for the health and flowering of the flower queen. In addition to watering and fertilizing, this also includes the annual cut in spring. However, some owners reach for the scissors again in the fall because they have had good experiences with it. Experts advise against. Anyone who takes a closer look at the background will understand why it is still justified to cut roses in autumn in a private garden.

frostbite in winter

It’s true, roses are hardy plants that will endure and survive icy winters outdoors. But that doesn’t mean that the frost won’t damage them at all. But on the contrary. With most roses, not all of the shoots are strong enough to withstand the cold.

  • new shoots often cannot mature in time
  • the tips are not lignified by autumn
  • these soft shoots are sensitive to frost
  • freeze back even at low minus temperatures

Do these frostbites have serious consequences? Is there something that needs to be done about it? For example with an autumn cut.

The expert opinion

In the past, it was also customary in professional circles to cut back roses in autumn. Experts now see this measure as unnecessary. They consider the frostbite of the shoots to be unproblematic for the vitality of the roses. According to experts, young branches that remain on the rose bush in autumn can still fulfill two important functions even when frozen:

  • they keep out cold winds
  • in a strong winter sun, they act as shade providers

For these reasons, they only recommend an autumn pruning if the planting is very dense. By cutting away some branches, the root base is more accessible for winter protection. In the case of standard trees, pruning makes it easier to pack up the crown.

Gardener’s Observations

In private gardens, rose owners have had their own experiences with overwintering. They cannot confirm that freezing the shoots has no negative effects on the roses. The frozen shoots themselves are not the problem, but what follows:

  • dead shoots remain on the plant
  • they form ideal breeding grounds for harmful germs
  • Rot and fungal diseases are spreading
  • spread to healthy parts of the plant

Rose diseases should not be underestimated, which is why hobby gardeners want to minimize this risk factor with an autumn cut.

Reasons for different assessments

It’s surprising when the opinions of the so-called experts and laypeople differ so widely. If you look at the facts, you will see that both parties are right in their own way. This is due to the fact that the starting situations are different.

The experts who advise against pruning roses in the fall are also those who recommend liberal use of pesticides for disease control or even disease prevention. A plant smothered in pesticides certainly won’t experience disease problems with frostbitten, rotting shoots. Therefore, no pruning is necessary before the onset of winter.

In private gardens, on the other hand, the use of pesticides is less and less welcome. Therefore, of course, there is a certain risk of illness that is downright challenged by frozen shoots in winter. Instead of spraying pesticides, other environmentally friendly precautionary measures must be taken.

How does autumn pruning help?

Pruning the roses in the fall is only to remove weak shoots that would not survive the winter anyway. The damaged shoots would not sprout in spring anyway and would therefore be cut then at the latest. If they are removed as a preventive measure before winter, rotting deadwood cannot develop during the winter. This automatically reduces the risk of infection.

The optimal time

The autumnal pruning of the bed roses should be done before the first frost. This also applies to climbing roses. Since frost does not adhere to a specific calendar day and is not announced for a long time, the rose owner must pay careful attention to nature and the weather. So it can be that in some areas or in mild years the roses bloom well into December.

  • humid weather promotes fungal diseases
  • If autumn is wet, cut roses earlier
  • first rotten leaves are the starting signal
  • also note the announcement of night frosts

The cutting itself should always be done on a dry and frost-free day. If the ideal time has been missed and frost is imminent, no more shoots should be cut. Yellow leaves and remains of rose petals should also be removed in this case.

Appropriate cutting tool

The best tool for pruning roses in autumn, whether bedding or climbing, is of course the rose scissors. This applies to all pruning measures, regardless of the season in which they are carried out. In order for the cut surfaces to heal properly, the scissors must leave clean, smooth cuts. Frayed ends make it easy for fungi and bacteria to penetrate healthy wood and cause disease.

  • use only sharp scissors
  • disinfect thoroughly beforehand
  • with pure alcohol or special disinfectants
Tip: If you are pruning multiple rose plants, disinfect the scissors after each rose.

Instructions for bed roses

With the autumn cut, the bed roses do not have to be cut back as extensively and severely as is the case with the spring cut. The rule of pruning back to five eyes does not apply here.

  • Cut bed roses on a juice scale
  • ie all shoots at one height
  • Cut above one eye, as high as stem is wide
  • Thin out the rose bush
  • it should be air permeable
  • this allows moisture to dry faster and better
  • leave only 3-4 strong stalks
  • cut them back by about two thirds

Make sure that all dead wood is removed when cutting the bed roses. You should also remove all disturbingly growing shoots.

Instructions for climbing roses

Climbing roses are usually pruned after flowering, which is in autumn. They have shoots that grow quickly and can get very long. If these were not cut back in summer for reasons of space, they should be shortened before the cold season. In autumn, however, you must not subject your climbing roses to any radical pruning. Basically, the more modestly the climbing roses are cut back, the more reliably they survive icy winters. As with the bed roses, however, it is also necessary here to ensure that fungal diseases do not find a good breeding ground over the winter. In order to meet both requirements, only what is really annoying is removed.

  • remove all dead shoots
  • Cut away disturbing growing branches
  • cut off faded flowers
  • remove yellow leaves from the shoots
  • Pick up and dispose of fallen leaves

The result of the cutting should be an airy structure. If necessary, you need to thin out vigorously:

  • Thin out narrow growing shoots
  • give priority to cutting weak shoots
  • these are more susceptible to disease
Tip: Do not cut branches that are growing incorrectly completely at the base. It is sufficient if you shorten them vigorously. Fine pruning can be done in spring.

Instructions for wound closure

Both bed roses and climbing roses can develop strong shoots with age. Broad stems leave large open interfaces after cutting. You should coat these with vegetable wax so that fungal pathogens and other harmful germs are blocked from entering the rose.

alternative to cutting

The autumn cut is not absolutely necessary, but makes sense in a chemical-free private garden for the reasons described above. If you don’t have time to cut your roses in autumn before the onset of winter, you should still offer them a minimum of protection. This consists of removing all yellow leaves and faded flowers. Moisture collects on them, which can only evaporate with difficulty without the sun. They start to rot and are a breeding ground for harmful germs.

winter protection measures

The pruning measures have significantly reduced the volume of the roses and made the root base more accessible. In addition to protection against diseases, another advantage is that winter protection measures are easier to implement. Only both together, the reduction of disease-prone plant material and winter protection measures, offer the best possible protection against cold and associated diseases.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *