When To Prune Roses

The Best Time To Prune Roses
In Different Regions

When to prune roses, the best time to prune roses in most areas

of the country, that's what this page is all about.

People are always asking me "when is the correct time of the year to prune roses"?

Here is an easy guide for pruning times in certain regions and climate zones.

This guide is ONLY for repeat-flowering shrub roses and hybrid tea roses.

Once-flowering old roses should ONLY be pruned AFTER flowering in summer, because they only flower on last years growth.

Ok, so when should I prune my roses? Answer: in most areas of the USA, spring is the time roses awake from dormancy.

However, where you live determines when to prune your roses.

Timing your pruning right means healthier rose plants with more blooms, so base your pruning schedule on your hardiness zone.

Wait to make your first pruning cuts until two to three weeks before the average final-frost date, but before your roses begin to put on their seasonal growth.

That's when you should prune your roses. Follow these pruning guidelines to help roses get off to a good start.

For roses that bloom on new wood, like the vast majority do, major rose pruning should be done in early spring,when the bud eyes on the canes are just beginning to plump up and turn pink and swell, and after the last frost.

WHEN TO PRUNE ROSES IN ZONES 4 AND BELOW: In regions where temperatures dip to frigid extremes (below -20F), spring pruning typically takes place in late May to early June.

Summer pruning is discouraged because the short growing season rarely allows for a second flush of flowers.

WHEN TO PRUNE ROSES IN ZONES 5 TO 7: Where the average low temperatures range from -20F to 10F, pruning and shaping of roses typically occurs in mid-March to early May.

A second light shearing in June after the first spring bloom will encourage more flowers by July and August.

WHEN TO PRUNE ROSES IN ZONES 8 AND ABOVE: Anywhere temperatures rarely go below 10F, gardeners can prune and shape roses as early as mid-February.

And then again in May, after the first flush of blooms is finished.

And then again in August or September for the ultimate fall flowering.

Each pruning comes right before the plants push out new growth, but never when they are stressed by extreme heat or cold.

When you prune roses make sure pruners are sharp, and always disinfect them before and after each pruning cut, using rubbing alcohol.

when to prune roses

Pruning Graphic Courtesy Of
Ohio State University

When To Prune

You can prune off diseased or dead (black or dark gray) wood any time of the year.

But roses need a major pruning in late winter or early spring when they're first starting to send out new growth.

The new growth is usually little red buds or shoots that will turn into new stems and leaves.

When To Prune Roses
In Warm Climates

If you are wondering when is the best time to prune roses in Arizona, Florida or Southern California, warm weather areas, prune in late fall or early winter, right before cool weather arrives with rains.

I grow roses in Los Angeles California, so I prune my roses between Christmas and New Years.

If you are unsure, contact your local rose society, they'll advice you about, when is the best time to prune your roses where you live.

When To Prune In Cold Climates

Gardeners in cold climate zones have many challenges trying to keep their roses alive during the winter.

So it's important to check for frost dates, and not do any pruning until it's safe to do so.

If you live where the winters are so cold that you have to totally cover your roses with winter protection gear, or bury your roses, prune after the risk of a hard freeze is over, and you have uncovered your roses.

Keep an eye on the forsythia bushes, if you have any nearby.

When the forsythias start to bloom, it's time to prune roses.

I recommend you plant a forsythia bush in your garden if you have the room, because then you'll always know when to prune your roses.


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