Green Summer Pruning

January is the right time to green summer prune your rose bushes. Let Ludwig show you how easy it is to do in this short video!

Green Summer Pruning is applied to tidy the bushes up, bring tall ones down in height and to stimulate quality growth and blooms for autumn.

Without much grooming or pruning, the bushes would have grown dense with lots of twigs and will be flowering magnificently. Carrying out green summer pruning however will result in the remaining blooms becoming larger. Opening up the densely leaved sections will allow light and air inside the bush and diminish black spot defoliation.

Black Spot in centre of bush

Without green summer pruning black spot easily infects the centre of the bush.

When carrying out green summer pruning each bush needs to be considered individually and treated according to its past performance and what is expected for ongoing growth and flowering.

The overall consideration when carrying out green summer pruning is to retain a good balance of remaining leaves. Leaves are absolutely important to maintain a good sap flow – water pushed up from the roots and flowing back to the roots.

Strong sap flow keeps a plant cool. However too many leaves absorb a lot of water, loose much of it by transpiration and the bush becomes lazy in sprouting and producing quality blooms.

If you were to cut off too many leaves, the sap flow within the stems would slow down and cease. The sap then is heated up to such an extent that it almost starts to boil within the plant. The cambium tissue beneath the bark is then scorched – this is known as sunburn or stem canker. Leaves are not only needed to regulate the sap flow but also shade the stems and branches. So, if your roses are experiencing sunburn, water well, don’t fertilise and pinch back all buds to stimulate sprouting further down the main stems.


Sunburn or stem canker can devastate the plant. See how it is fighting back by sprouting a new red shoot.

These images give a good idea of how to apply green summer pruning:

Fairest Cape

If the spent blooms on this ‘Fairest Cape’ were just left on the bush, it would take forever for new shoots and buds to appear.

Fairest Cape

3 days after dead heading, the sprouting is already evident.

dead heading on Garden Queen  before

Before dead heading ‘Garden Queen’.

dead heading on Garden Queen  after

The stems of the dead headed, spent blooms will sprout one to two new blooms.

Green Summer Pruning 1

Rose bushes before they are green summer pruned.

Green Summer Pruning 2

After they have been tidied up and readied for sprouting and flower power in autumn.





Green Summer Pruning 3




Before full of hips.

Every receptacle on this bush has made a hip (fruit) after the petals have fallen off and would not flower again this season.

Green Summer Pruning 4

After summer green pruning has been applied, the remaining stems will bear quality shoots and large blooms.

Green Summer Pruning 5

Green summer pruning a semi denuded bush.

Green Summer Pruning 6

The leaves on the remaining stems are retained. This is of extreme importance!

Green Summer Pruning 7

Various stages of single stem samples to guide you on where to cut.

Green Summer Pruning 8

This is how they should look after you have summer green pruned these individual stems on the bush.

Green Summer Pruning 9

Slightly more mature single stem samples.

Green Summer Pruning 10

Here the “grooming” has been applied.

Green Summer Pruning 11

This Floribunda ‘Forever Busy’ that is full of all stages of blooms and buds does not have to be green summer pruned or dead headed.

Green Summer Pruning 12

If you pick cut roses regularly, the bushes do not need to be green summer pruned. The picking automatically encourages quality new sprouting.

There is no need to green summer prune Iceberg or spreading groundcover roses as they grow sideways into the light.

Climbers are tied and trained, they are not green summer pruned.

Enjoy the challenge, your roses will thank you for it!

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