A rose bush that blooms only once during the season benefits from summer pruning after its blooming period has ended. The pruned plant has the remainder of the growing season to produce strong new wood that hardens before winter and requires only minimal pruning in spring. Pruning cuts are made just above a bud eye, the area on the stem where the leaves attach to the stem and at which point there is a dormant bud.
Pruning a rose bush, whether a standard, climbing or rambling rose, is approached the same way. If the rose only blooms once, summer dead-heading and pruning is done after the display is completed. Once the spent blooms are removed, the canes are pruned aggressively just above an outward-facing set of leaflets containing five to seven leaves. Immature leaflets of only three leaves do not produce any new growth or new bloom.
A rose bush that re-blooms or grows almost continuously throughout the growing season can be pruned vigorously without harming the vitality of the plant. This maintenance pruning keeps a larger bush manageable, maintains its shape, and eliminates poor branching connections. Spent blooms are removed from the rose bush until August and not dead-headed after that time to allow an autumn rose hip display.
Pruning cuts are easily made using a pruning shears with a well-sharpened blade. Periodically disinfecting pruning shears with diluted bleach or alcohol avoids spreading fungus and other rose diseases, especially when pruning out diseased branches.