The Q&A Archives: Timing of Pruning of Rose Bushes

Question: I've heard that it is good to prune rose bushes twice per year -- once in late fall, just after the first frost, and again early spring just after the last frost. Is this correct? Do you recommend cutting the rose bushes way down in the fall to generate new growth for the spring?

Answer: Rosarians generally recommend a major pruning when the plant is dormant in late winter to ready it for peak bloom in spring. Then a light pruning follows in summer, which can promote more bloom. Different rose types require different types of pruning, but typically it's best not to cut more than 1/3 of the plant back at a time.

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