How Do You Properly Prune Roses?


Quick Answer

Some basic principles of proper rose pruning include using clean and sharp tools, removing all dead or dying canes and removing all thin or weak canes. Making cuts at a 45-degree angle about 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud is advised. Rose pruning is typically done in spring.

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Full Answer

The overall goal of pruning a rose bush is to increase air circulation, give the plant shape and increase flowering. After removing dead, diseased or damaged wood, remove any old, striated canes, even if green canes are growing off of them. To open up the plant and provide air flow, remove branches that go through the center, cross each other or rub together. If the plant has suckers, which are long canes that grow below the bud union, pull them down and off of the rose bush. Cutting them off may encourage further sucker growth.

The final shape of a pruned rose bush should be that of a wide or narrow vase. For a moderate prune, cut back remaining stems to about one-third of their length. The cut surface of the stem should be white and healthy. If it is brown, cut the stem back further until healthy tissue appears. Painting the cuts with sealing compound is recommended to avoid problems with diseases and pests.

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