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.

Collection of pink-flowered rose bushes at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, FL.

The rose garden at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida.

Rose Pruning Techniques

There are essentially two ways to approach rose bush pruning:

  1. The old-fashioned way which is done with a hand pruner or secateurs. This is the most precise method and the one used most frequently by serious rose growers.
  2. The modern method which uses a power shear. This is the fastest, easiest way of pruning rose bushes but it is not at all precise. If the only thing stopping you from using the modern method is fear of disaster, you might like to know that garden trials have shown that shearing hybrid teas or floribundas to an even height does them no harm. Still hesitant? Perform your own trial on a single bush. If the results are not what you’d hoped for a little remedial rose pruning will set the plant straight the following season. Also, I have used a hedge hog on some of my own roses to no ill effect.

How to Prune Roses

Corona Pruning Anvil Pruner 89

Corona Pruning Anvil Pruner 89

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

Womens Rose gloves Small

Womens Rose gloves Small

Womens Rose gloves X-Large

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

Hybrid tea rose bush with red flowers in the Leu Gardens rose garden.

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

Rose Tree, Sweet Sunblaze®/Raspberry Sunblaze®

Buy a Rose Tree, Sweet Sunblaze®/Raspberry Sunblaze®

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 TeaFloribunda, 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 – Repeat Bloomers

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 – Spring Bloomers

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 Shrub Roses
Pruning shrub roses teaches you how to prune rose bushes. About modern, old garden and antique shrub rose pruning. When to prune rose plants.

Pruning Knockout Roses
Pruning Knockout roses. Pruning of Knock Out rose bushes. When to prune easy does it Knockout roses. Trimming and pruning double Knockout roses. Deadheading Knockout roses. When to trim Knockout roses.

Go from Pruning Rose Bushes to Peace Rose Bushes
The most popular Peace rose bushes. The original rose bush called Peace, Pink Peace, Chicago Peace, Prairie Peace, Love and Peace and Desert Peace Hybrid Tea roses.

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