Here are my top ten rose pruning tips for pruning your rose bushes.
These are a few simple rules of thumb for having a good rose pruning season and taking the guessing game out of rose pruning.
1. If you can afford it, spend some money on good rose pruning tools. Good quality pruning tools are easier to work with and will last a lot longer, making them cheaper in the long run.
2. The way your roses grow should determine how you prune. Some roses put out new canes every year from the base. You can prune these roses harder. But some, such as old Tea roses, take time to build up a structure and reach their size. These need a lighter pruning.
3. Always start by pruning out dead wood. Why? Because, it's dead and you can't make a mistake. It gets you warmed up.
4. Prune out weak or damaged growth. Just trust your gardener's instincts to recognize canes that aren't full of vigor. These canes are often spindly looking. This also helps you to better see the rose plants structure.
5. Never worry about making a mistake. It will grow back.
6. With Garden Roses don't worry about outward facing bud-eyes and five leaflet leaf sets. Just prune to strong, healthy growth at your desired height. And if you don't know what a five leaflet leaf set or bud-eye is, don't worry about it. You don't need to.
7. Don't try to keep a tall rose short. It wont be happy. If you want a rose in a particular spot to be short, plant a short one! As a rule of thumb don't reduce the height of most garden roses by more than a 1/3.
8. Every now and then you'll take out an old cane that no longer produces growth and blooms. I label that kind of cane "bloomed out". Take it out at the ground level, using a pruning saw. You'll be amazed at the new growth you'll see in spring. Fresh new growth equals more flowers.
9. Pruning isn't just for "pruning season". Feel free to shape your roses all season long. I usually shape my rose bushes a bit after each flower flush, or when deadheading.
10. Don't prune just before winter and cold weather. That will result in fresh new tender growth that will suffer from winter-kill and it could kill your rose plant.
Use these top ten rose pruning tips as a guideline for the major annual rose pruning done mostly in spring.
The top ten rose pruning tips above will help you with your pruning for sure. Be sure to find out what's the proper pruning time is in your climate zone. Check with a local garden center that sells roses for advice.
Also be aware that once-blooming rose bushes should only be pruned right after flowering in summer, because they only flower on last seasons growth.
So if you prune off last season's growth in the spring, you will not have any blooms that summer.
Most once-flowering rose bushes are old antique rose bushes, but not all of them.
If you are unsure of what kind of rose you have, skip the spring pruning and observe it's bloom time. Repeat-bloomers should be pruned in spring, and once-flowerings should only be pruned after flowering in summer.