Most rose pruning is done in the spring, with the blooming of the forsythia as a signal to get moving. If you don’t have forsythia, watch for when the leaf buds begin to swell on your rose plants, meaning the bumps on the canes get larger and reddish in color.
Rose Pruning Basics
- Use clean, sharp tools
- Look at the overall plant, but begin pruning from the base of the plant.
- Prune to open the center of the plant to light and air circulation
- Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud that is facing toward the outside of the plant.
- Make sure it is a clean cut (not ragged)
- Remove all broken, dead, dying or diseased wood (Any branches that look dry, shriveled or black. Cut until the inside of the cane is white.)
- Remove any weak or twiggy branches thinner than a pencil
- If cane borers are a problem in your area, seal the cut with a white glue, such as Elmers.
- Remove sucker growth below the graft.
- Remove any remaining foliage