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Help - hedge trimmer on roses?

(11 Posts)
eleventybillion Mon 27-Mar-17 09:24:48

A rare day working from home today and the guy who does a bit of garden maintenance for me is over doing a bit of a spring tidy.

Mostly going ok but I've just watched him cut back the roses with a hedge trimmer. The roses are large ones on a trellis arch - maybe 7 or 8 feet high.

Before I have a word, I wondered if this is ok? Rubbish at gardening but I always thought you pruned roses.

Happy to be told AIBU but the roses are gorgeous and I'd hate to hurt them.

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Mon 27-Mar-17 09:31:31

No fucking way.

There was a belief about a decade ago that pruning with a hedge trimmer was as effective as hand pruning.

The RHS carried out trials using this method and found that while there was a short term benefit of convenience, in the long term the plants suffered and were more susceptible to disease.

Pruning by hedge trimmer means that you have missed out two of the three tenets of pruning - to remove dead and diseased growth, and to remove crossing branches.

I would sack him forthwith.

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Mon 27-Mar-17 09:33:10

Only with a rosa rugosa hedge would this be acceptable.
But using a hedge trimmer on a trellis? You risk losing your trellis as well as your roses.

eleventybillion Mon 27-Mar-17 10:12:52

Thank you JeNeSuis (or should it be Miel?). Really appreciate the advice!

Feeling surprisingly upset.

Shame as he came highly recommended and seems to have done a reasonable job for the last year.

Time for a chat I think sad

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Mon 27-Mar-17 12:15:57

I would be upset too!
Secateurs and a clear idea of how to prune or you're out!

shovetheholly Mon 27-Mar-17 12:42:17

I am not a rose grower, so take what I have to say with a pinch of salt! But I have seen people pruning roses with hedge trimmers at some gardens that specialise in them - including Alnwick, which must be one of the foremost places in the north for growing them! It sounds like it's a controversial method, but not necessarily one that indicates a total lack of horticultural knowledge.

eleventybillion Mon 27-Mar-17 22:05:27

Thanks Holly - sounds like there might be hope for my lovely roses.

Maybe I need to figure out how to be a better gardener myself grin

shovetheholly Tue 28-Mar-17 08:30:40

I hope so eleventy. Established roses can be quite tough, despite the delicacy of the flowers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

I'm always really torn on these threads because I know there are a load of so-called 'gardeners' out there with almost no horticultural training, who basically wave power tools around for a living. I think we all have experience of them! And they do wreck things. My grandma had a bloke she insisted on employing, who basically killed a number of things in her garden. Fortunately, we've managed to get her a new gardener who actually knows what he's doing.

But then there is another group who really, really know what they are doing, and have decades of experience, but perhaps might be a bit old school or use techniques that are controversial. Barring the most obvious cases of plant massacre (and these do happen!), it can be hard to tell without very good pictures or actually being there whether someone has totally screwed up or not.

ElleDubloo Tue 28-Mar-17 21:37:03

I'm pretty sure I read a gardening book a while ago by someone off GQT that suggested chopping roses fairly ruthlessly with a hedge trimmer, and that it actually improved flowering. It was a book about low maintenance gardening.

IlsaLund Tue 28-Mar-17 21:39:36

For years I pruned by hand - I came home one day to find DH using his hedge trimmer on my huge rose bushes and I was furious - the following year they put out the best display of blooms ever!

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Wed 29-Mar-17 22:08:32

The previous two posts illustrate my point about the RHS trials. Initially there can be a good show of blooms but after consecutive years of this treatment, the plants suffer.

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