The pruning of rose hedges depends largely on the variety of rose grown and the wishes of the grower. R. chinensis can be neatly trimmed like privet to almost any shape, and to any height from three to six feet. Mermaid, Lorraine Lee, Mrs Russell Grimwade, and Busybody can be treated in the same way, but are not quite as easily shaped. In pruning other rose hedges some regard must be paid to cutting the plants to the general shape of the hedge, but there is no need to prune each individual plant as one does in the case of roses in garden beds.
The new type of roses suited to hedge making, such as Berlin, Bonn, Elmshorn and Grandmaster may be pruned in the same manner as Lorraine Lee.
After pruning any rose, clip off all but the heel or petiole of the remaining leaves. Do not tear them off, because if any leaf is still firmly fixed to the branch, the growth-bud that it shelters is immature and not yet ready to be exposed to winter conditions. The heel of the leaf will later drop off.
Secateurs must be kept sharp and clean. Wipe sap from the blades before putting them away at any time. All cuts should be made with the cutting-blade nearest to the base of the plant: this will leave a nice clean edge to each cut. Any bruising done by the non-cutting blade of the secateurs will be on the part of the branch removed.
Gather up all leaves and trimmings. On them will be thousands of spores of rose diseases, particularly black spot and mildew, as well as aphis eggs. Most growers burn all this refuse and later spread the ash on the rose beds or the compost heap. If it is put direct into the compost heap, the heat generated in the heap will kill the diseases, but be careful to put it well into the centre. Burning is the more reliable way of killing disease spores and is to be advised except where composting can be done in large heaps and left for at least two years.
Winter-blooming roses must not be pruned in the winter, for this would remove all the young flowering growth. They give best results if fairly heavily trimmed in March. All dead and sickly wood should be kept out of them, and an overhaul, by way of thinning out surplus branches, may be done every two or three years. Never remove remaining leaves.