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Pruning Roses

Pruning your rose plants can provide several benefits: improved flower quality, better plant health, and shaping/size maintenance.

Shrub roses have numerous canes with either small, single flowers or clusters developing on the canes' end and side branches. Some varieties only bloom once, and others are repeat bloomers. Pruning should be done annually while the plant is still in dormancy— in early spring before new growth, usually February or March.

NOTE: This is part 8 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow roses, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Pruning Tips

  • Remove any broken, dead, weak, crossing or diseased branches.
  • Remove dead wood to the nearest bud. The center of the stem should be white and healthy. If not, remove the entire branch or cane to the base of the plant.
  • Remove one third of the oldest, woodiest stems by cutting them back the crown. This allows for new growth.
  • Do not remove more than one third of the canopy height.
  • Shape the plant as desired.
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