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Enjoy a year of gardening inspiration with RHS membership!

Join the RHS today and you’ll enjoy free, year-round entry to more than 200 spectacular gardens*, including the four RHS Gardens where you can bring a family guest for free each time you visit. Plus, enjoy exclusive access to RHS Shows, a monthly copy of The Garden magazine (worth £54 per year), personalised gardening advice from RHS experts and much more.

All this is yours from just £44.25 when you pay by Direct Debit.

Join online or call 020 3176 5820 quoting 3938.

*Ts & Cs apply – please see above link for details.

Gardener's Diary


In association with the Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening.

Their goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.

In this section on Laterlife they share their expertise to provide your Jobs for the Month - making sure that your garden is ready for the season ahead.

Find out more about how to become a member of the RHS

Jobs to do in March

Spring arrives

Top 10 jobs this month

Spring usually arrives by mid-March and the frequent sunny days provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It's time to get busy preparing seed beds, sowing seed, cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up around the garden.


  • Protect new spring shoots from slugs
  • Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs
  • Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials
  • Top dress containers with fresh compost
  • Mow the lawn on dry days (if needed)
  • Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful winter stems
  • Hoe and mulch weeds to keep them under control early
  • Start feeding fish and using the pond fountain; remove pond heaters
  • Prune bush and climbing roses

Rose pruning: general tips

These general tips for rose pruning will help you improve the health and lifespan of any rose.


Quick facts

  • Suitable for All roses
  • Timing See individual profiles
  • Difficulty Moderate

Suitable for...

When to prune roses

Late winter (February or March) is often a good time for pruning roses but see the individual rose profiles above for more specific timing.

How to prune roses: general tips

When tackling roses bear the following in mind;

  • Cuts should be no more than 5mm (¼ in) above a bud and should slope away from it, so that water does not collect on the bud. This applies to all cuts, whether removing dead wood, deadheading or annual pruning
  • Cut to an outward-facing bud to encourage an open-centred shape. With roses of spreading habit, prune some stems to inward-facing buds to encourage more upright growth
  • Cut to the appropriate height, if a dormant bud is not visible
  • Cuts must be clean, so keep your secateurs sharp. For larger stems, use loppers or a pruning saw
  • Prune dieback to healthy white pith
  • Cut out dead and diseased stems and spindly and crossing stems
  • Aim for well-spaced stems that allow free air flow
  • On established roses, cut out poorly flowering old wood and saw away old stubs that have failed to produce new shoots
  • With the exception of climbing roses and shrub roses, prune all newly planted roses hard to encourage vigorous shoots
  • Trace suckers back to the roots from which they grow and pull them away

These tips should be read in conjunction with the appropriate rose pruning profile.

Pruning an unknown rose

Perhaps if you've inherited a rose or lost the label - you may not know what type of rose you have. In which case, follow our basic tips below to get you started. Prune in February or March.

Climber or rambling type

If your rose has long arching stems, is very tall or needs some sort of support to hold it up then it is most likely a climber or rambler.

  • Where there is only one thick old stem going down to ground level, go easy as it may not regenerate if cut hard back. Instead, shorten by between a third and a half
  • For multi-stemmed roses, aim to take out one or two of the oldest looking stems (i.e. grey, flaky bark) to as near to the base as you can
  • If the response the next season is for the rose to send out a lot of strong but barren (non-flowering) shoots, chances are it is a rambler. A rose that responds with less vigorous, flowering growth is probably a climber

Shrub or bush type

Very small roses are easy to recognise so follow our guide for patio and miniature roses. Larger roses might be any number of types, from hybrid tea and floribunda to species and shrub roses. If in doubt;

  • Take out one or two stems as close to ground level as you can or to younger looking (green barked) side stems low down
  • Shorten remaining stems by between a third and a half
  • If the response the next season is lots of vigorous regrowth that flowers well, chances are it is a floribunda or hybrid tea
  • Otherwise, it is more likely to be a type of shrub rose

Feed all pruned roses with a general purpose or rose fertiliser in spring. Mulch with garden compost or manure.

The Royal Horticultural Society

Want more Gardening tips?
Why not view the Royal Horticultural Society's website.

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