Trimming Rose Bushes

trimming rose bushes

How To Trim Roses
Pruning Roses

Below are the basic steps for trimming rose bushes.

Easy trimming roses techniques for beginners to rose gardening.

The whole subject of how to trim roses, rose pruning, can be intimidating if your are new to growing roses.

But if you follow a few simple steps when you trim rose bushes, your roses should survive just fine.

The major pruning, trimming of roses should be done when your rose plants are dormant and not actively growing and blooming.

In mild winter regions this is done in December or January. I garden in Los Angeles and I always trim (prune) my roses between Christmas and New Years.

trimming rose bushes

If you garden in a very cold climate, late March or early April is more likely the time you'll prune, trim your roses.

When the bud eyes along the canes turn reddish and begin to swell, that's a sign it's time to start trimming your roses.

Trimming Roses
Basic Steps For Pruning Roses

You should always start with a pair of clean, sharp pruning shears with scissor like blades when trimming rose bushes.

Most shears will cut canes up to half an inch thick.

For thicker canes, you'll need long-handled lopping shears, and a pruning saw.

You'll also need a pair of thorn-proof rose gardening gloves.

The gauntlet style rose gloves are the best choice, as they protect your fore-arms as well as your hands.

Trimming Cuts

There are 2 types of trimming cuts: thinning cuts and heading cuts.

A thinning cut is a cut that is done at the base of the rose plant.

This is done when you want to remove old, spindly or twiggy canes.

Doing this, will open up the center of the bush for better air circulation.

It will also re-juvinate a rose plant.

A heading cut is made 1/4 inch above a bud, at a slight angle, sloping away from the bud.

When you trim to a bud that is pointing away from the center, it will encourage the bush to grow outward canes.

I recommend sealing pruning cuts that are 1/8 inch thick in diameter, or larger, with glue or nail polish (use clear).

This will prevent cane borer pests from entering the canes, which will cause canes to die back.

Your trimming session should always start the same way.

1: First cut out any dead, damaged or diseased canes, and any cane rubbing against another.

2: After this, the pruning you do depends on the type of rose are working on. (see below for that)

3: When you are finished trimming your dormant rose, remove any remaining leaves, and clean up any dropped trimmings.

Trimming And Pruning
Different Types of Roses

Different types of roses have different pruning needs.

For trimming and pruning hybrid teas and grandifloras check out the simplyfied guidelines by clicking on this link.

For pruning floribunda roses, leave about 6-10 main canes, and then trim the remaining canes back by about a third.

Pruning Miniature Roses

Most of the mini roses can simply be trimmed back to 8-15 inches in height.

If you have tall growing miniature roses, just trim them back the same as floribundas.

Trimming Shrub Roses

This diverse group vary in pruning needs.

Most should have a few of their oldest canes removed every year, to encourage new base canes to grow.

If you have once-blooming shrub roses, only prune them right after flowering. Never when dormant.

Trimming Rose Bushes That Climb

Most climbing roses need 2-3 years to build up their long canes to produce flowers.

During this time, they need little or no pruning at all.

Established climbing roses do fine with just a little trimming of the shorter lateral flower shoots to about 3-6 inches.

Trim the main canes back only if they have overgrown their space.

If you have an once-blooming climber, only prune right after flowering in summer. Never while dormant.

That's all there is to trimming rose bushes.


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