How and When To Prune Roses

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Hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas should be pruned in the spring when the buds are swelling, but before new growth has begun. Prune to about one-third to half the height and width each year. To remove dead wood, cut the canes to live green tissue. Entire canes that have died may need to be removed.

Shrub roses that bloom once, in the spring, should be pruned after flowering is complete. Remove all the dead wood and some old canes.

Climbing roses should be pruned twice a year – in early spring and again after they have bloomed. Climbing roses typically bloom on last year’s canes, therefore, severe pruning is not necessary. To prevent cutting off flower buds, prune only the broken, dead and overcrowded canes. When flowering is complete, remove a few of the oldest canes, giving room for the new, current year’s canes which will produce flowers next season.

Rambling roses, which are vigorous climbers, should be pruned after flowering. Prune the old canes to ground level. The new canes that have become too large to manage should only be lightly headed back.