Basics of Rose Pruning

Pruning rose bushes is intimidating to many gardeners, but actually very good for the plants. Becoming an accomplished rose pruner takes time and practice, but keep in mind that it is very hard to kill a rose with bad pruning. While there is a great deal of disagreement among rose experts regarding how and when to prune roses, it is generally agreed that most mistakes will grow out very quickly and it is better to make a good effort at pruning roses than to let them grow rampant.

Why Prune Roses?

  • Encourage new growth and bloom

  • Remove dead wood

  • Improve air circulation

  • Shape the plant

Rose Pruning Basics:

  • Use clean, sharp tools

  • Look at the overall plant, but begin pruning from the base of the plant

  • Prune to open the center of the plant to light and air circulation

  • Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud that is facing toward the outside of the plant

  • Make sure it is a clean cut (not ragged)

  • Remove all broken, dead, dying or diseased wood (Any branches that look dry, shriveled or black. Cut until the inside of the cane is white.)

  • Remove any weak or twiggy branches thinner than a pencil

  • If cane borers are a problem in your area, seal the cut

  • Remove sucker growth below the graft

  • Remove any remaining foliage