The Q&A Archives: Old Rosbush Needs Pruning

Question: I have a VERY old rosebush that needs pruning and reshaping. If I prune it down to the ground now (early March in Ky.) will it damage it? If it lives, will it still bloom this year?

Answer: Let's not shock the dear ole rose too badly! Instead of pruning it to the ground which may be too severe for it, try this instead. Wait until you just see the buds starting to break so you know which of the branches are alive. First prune out all the dead stems. Then prune out about a third of the remaining live branches all the way to the ground, or as far as you can reach with your loppers. Choose the largest and oldest branches to remove. Also prune out any that are growing the wrong way: inward instead of outward, or any other such unruly branches. By now you should have a rose bush about half the size it was, and it should bloom nicely for you this year!

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