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Do roses get old?

(7 Posts)
MyAngels Thu 07-Nov-13 09:34:47

I inherited lots of lovely old roses in my garden from the previous occupant. She probably laid the garden out about 10-12 years ago. I have noticed most of the roses are looking a bit iffy - very woody at the bottom, very spindly branches, making the flowers droop. Could this be because they are getting old (I fed them last winter, but not in the summer this year), or because the winter before, when we moved in, the garden was hugely overgrown and SIL and I chopped lots of it (including roses) to the ground?

They are fab scented old David Austin roses mostly, I'd like to revitalise/save as many as I can.

Thanks for any advice.

LoofahVanDross Thu 07-Nov-13 09:39:18

Well I think they do get old and have to be replaced eventually, but have you tried cutting them right down and seeing what they grow back like? I have a feeling pruning must be at certain times of the year, october and feb I think but may be wrong. I would try that and if you don't get a good crop then maybe it is time to replace?

funnyperson Thu 07-Nov-13 19:08:16

Well at Sissinghurst and in Giverney there are many old roses so I think it is not quite time for the slash and burn approach. There may well be people who say prime severely but I prefer the gentle approach:namely prune so that you begin to get the shape you want and prune at least 1/3 off the plant trying not to cut into hard wood this year anyway. Then mulch with compost in the autumn and spring. Next Autumn when the plants are more robust you might prune a little more,depending on what shape you want.I have to say that over pruned Park roses don't appeal to me. I think the main reason for pruning is to cut out diseased and straggly growth a d prevent the plant from bro g rocked ny the wind and to give it a nice shape.The Titchmarsh/granny approach is to cut back nearly to the ground so as to promote new growth and lots of flowers in the spring.Rhubarb and Humph may have views.

LoofahVanDross Fri 08-Nov-13 11:50:53

If they are special roses then maybe take some cuttings to grow on and replace the old roses when the time is right.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 08-Nov-13 13:30:54

Hah, yes, I am going to completely disagree with funny and say hard prune all the way! grin Cut each main stem down to just above an outward facing bud, and remove all inward pointing and weak stems. Then mulch with lots of composted manure.

Ten years isn't old. Roses can go on for about fifty if treated well.

gardeningmum Sat 09-Nov-13 17:26:40

Yes i would prune hard though not until Feb/March. Lots of manure and then rose feed next summer. I think your roses just need a bit of TLC - they are possibly looking woody because they have not been pruned hard enough in the past.

SilverApples Sat 09-Nov-13 17:35:51

I've got a number of Austin roses, and hard pruning to within 12" of the ground suits them, most of mine are 15 years old.
If you aren't sure, contact David Austin Roses and ask them, they are a very friendly and helpful bunch of people.

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