Pruning Rose Bushes
Pruning rose bushes offers instructions for pruning roses using hand or power tools. How to prune roses. When to prune roses. Pruning Knockout, shrub and climbing roses.
The rose garden at
Harry P. Leu Gardens
in Orlando, Florida.
Rose Pruning Techniques
There are essentially two ways to approach rose bush pruning:
How to Prune Roses
Different techniques are used when pruning rose bushes of different types. I'll start with what applies to all types.
The first thing you want to do is remove any dead, broken, or crossing stems. Do this in early spring when the shrubs are naked and you can see the stems clearly.
Prune roses that bloom only once a year and do not repeat immediately after they finish flowering.
When pruning roses with a hand pruner, make your cuts slightly angled instead of straight across so that water will run off the cut end.
Even when completely removing a branch, don't make a flush cut. Leave a quarter inch "collar" of wood behind. This helps protect the plant from insects and disease.
Rose Pruning Tips
Remove suckers that sprout below the graft union by pulling them off with your hand (wear heavy, rose pruning gloves). This keeps them from growing back better than cutting them off does.
Where winters are severe, keep a watch for damaged wood as you prune.
Stems damaged by cold may be green on the outside but the interior of the stem will be brown. Cut back into healthy wood regardless of how low you have to cut the stem to do it. Healthy wood will be pale green to white in the center.
Pruning Hybrid Teas, Grandiflora and Floribunda Roses
Cut the stems back by half. If you are using hand pruners, make your cuts just above an outward facing bud.
This will force the bush to grow away from the center, keeping it open to air and light.
If you are using a hedge trimmer, don't worry about this, just cut straight across at half the plant's height.
Pruning Miniature Roses and Polyanthas
Miniature roses pruning techniques are very simple. These roses can withstand severe pruning and bounce right back.
Remove any weak or twiggy stems. Head back the stems that remain to 2 outward facing buds.
If you don't want to cut them back this hard, or if you want larger bushes, cut them back by half.
Pruning Tree Roses
Pruning standard roses is only slightly more difficult than pruning rose bushes.
A tree rose is a bush rose budded onto a 2-3 foot" trunk". Prune the top according to the instructions for whatever kind of rose forms the top. This will usually be a Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Grandiflora, or Polyantha. You may need to prune a standard a little more heavily to keep the top compact and evenly shaped.
Pruning climbing roses offers instructions for pruning roses that repeat bloom all season. How to prune climbing roses for the first 3 years after planting them. When to prune roses.
How to prune climbing roses offers instructions for pruning roses that bloom just once in the spring. Pruning climbing roses that bloom on old wood.
Pruning Knockout Roses
Go from Pruning Rose Bushes to Peace Rose Bushes