Dormant pruning of roses can be done any time between December and early March. I like to prune hybrid tea roses back to a height of 2 to 3 feet. It is best to prune just above a bud. Stubs left above buds will die and need to be pruned off later. Dead canes should be pruned down to the ground. Black or brown bark color is a good indication that a cane is dead. If you are not sure, you can scratch the bark with a knife or fingernail to see if the tissue underneath is moist and green. After shortening the large canes, I generally remove all branches which are smaller than pencil size. These small branches are not strong enough to hold up a flower. I leave small branches on floribunda and miniature roses. I usually prune these smaller plants at a height of 1 to 2 feet, depending upon their natural mature height. Standards and climbers need lighter, more selective pruning. Thin out some of the weaker growth and shape by shortening extra long branches. Plants which are taller than you want can be shortened.

Rose pruning throughout the growing season consists of removing dead flowers and eliminating thin branches which will not support flowers. Thin branches (less than pencil diameter) should be removed to their source. When flowers are removed, cut just above a leaflet with 5 leaves. Cuts above leaflets with 3 leaves have weak return growth. Sprouts from below the graft union (bulge near soil line) should be removed. These sprouts from the rootstock of the plant often have leaves with 7 leaflets.

If you would like help pruning roses, give me a call. I can prune them for you or teach you how to prune them yourself. There is no charge for an estimate.