Pruning Roses

Pruning is one of the most important tasks when it come to proper roses care. Roses are pruned for the following reasons; it encourages new growth and bloom, removes dead or broken stems, improves air circulation through the plant and allows one to give the rose shape.

Useful Rose Pruning Tips:

  • Always wear a quality pair of gardening gloves when pruning roses.
  • Always use clean, sharp tools to prevent disease. You’ll need hand pruners and, for the larger canes, loppers.
  • Thinning out the center of the rose will allow increased light and air circulation.
  • Prune the stems (making a clean cut) at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a outward facing bud.
  • When pruning any rose, remove all broken, dead or diseased wood.
  • Remove any branches thinner than a pencil, any remaining foliage.

When to Prune

RosesMost roses are prune in spring just as their buds begin to swell and turn reddish in color. If you don’t know what type of rose you have, watch the plant for a season. If it blooms on the new growth it sends out that growing season, prune while dormant or just about to break dormancy, as stated above. If it blooms early, on last year’s canes, don’t prune until after flowering.

Roses are actually quite simple to prune if you know the fundamentals. The fundamentals are as follows:

Blooms Once On New Growth

Floribunda & Polyanthus – These are the types of roses that produce their abundant flowers on the current season’s new growth. Up to 2/3 the plants height can be pruned in the spring. Too many canes can prevent air flow through the plants and prevent light for entering the plant so leave only 3-5 healthy canes per rose. They should be evenly spaced around the plant.

Hybrid Teas & Grandflora – These roses, which produce single large flowers on each stem, also bloom on new growth and should be pruned in early spring. Remove dead and diseased wood. Create an open vase shape with the remaining canes by pruning the center stems and any criss-crossing or inwardly growing stems. Leave about 4 or 5 healthy looking stems and prune their length to 18 – 24“. Older stems can remain a bit longer than the new growth.

Repeat Bloomers

Modern Shrub Roses – Blooming on mature, but not old, stems, these roses should be allowed to grow without pruning for the first 2 years. After that, one-third of the oldest canes (in addition to any dead, diseased or dying canes), can be pruned each year.

Climbing RosesClimbing roses are pruned somewhat differently than other roses. Each plant should be limited to four or six, healthy, evenly spaced canes. All that is pruned on these main canes are the tips in order to control its size. Most of the pruning on a climbing roses is done on the offshoots of the main canes which should be cut back to the second growth bud, usually making it only about two or three inches long. Prune after flowering to shape and keep their size in check.

Blooms Once On Old Wood

Ramblers – As with all roses they are pruned to remove damaged and dead wood or to shape and control their size. Ramblers bloom only once and can be pruned hard right after flowering.

Minimal Pruning Required

Miniature Roses – Simply cut back to an outward facing bud after blooming and prune only about one-fourth of the old growth for shaping purposes.

Tree Roses – Never prune the main upright stock of a tree rose. Prune only the bushy head of the tree rose according to the type of rose that is grafted onto the tree stock.

Proper pruning encourages your roses to produce larger blooms as well as vigorous, healthy growth.

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