Pruning Roses - Introduction

22 Apr 2012 Comments 0

A rose stem will grow and bear flowers actively for a number of years. Unlike a tree, a rose does not increase in size every year; it eventually exhausts itself and dies. Roses that are left un-pruned can become a tangled mess of old and new stems all competing for air and light.


Pruning is essential to the health of the rose. Cutting out dead and diseased wood will encourage the regular development of healthy new shoots or canes and ultimately, the goal of all rose growers, beautiful masses of blooms.


Pruning Roses can be bit daunting and intimidating at first, but it is not all that bad. All you have to do is, follow the basic 3 rules for pruning all roses.


1) Cut out dead, diseased, and broken wood.

2) Cut out the canes / shoots that cross the middle and those that rub against each other.

3) Shorten the rest of the canes / shoots.


Before you begin pruning, you need to determine what type of rose you have and how it blooms, as this will affect both your timing and technique.

  • Repeat bloomers flower on new wood which is the recent thick green growth, these plants naturally shed their old canes every few years.When you buy them new from the Nursery I prefere not to prune them for the first year, some times one can potspone the pruning for two years. Then use the 1/3 cutting back method, where you remove 1/3 of the oldest canes in addition to any dead, diseased or half dead canes. Hybrid T Roses, Grandiflora Roses, Floribunda Roses and Polyantha Roses as well as many Shrub Roses all fall under the catagory of repeat bloomers, which means they keep producing blooms right through the flowering season. Including most of the modern roses fall into this category of repeat blooming as well as Miniature and Climbing Roses.


  • Single bloomers (such as some antique roses and shrub roses) should be pruned after they finish blooming in the late spring or summer.
If you aren’t sure, look for the tag at the base of the main stem – it will give you the name of the Rose variety, and you can easily look up the type. If there isn’t a tag or a lable, hold off on pruning until you’ve observed when the rose blooms and what type of Rose you are dealing with.

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