The Q&A Archives: Pruning Roses

Question: I forgot to prune my roses in January like I was supposed to do. I plan on pruning them this week but am curious if I should do something extra to help them.

Answer: It's still early in the growing season so you should be able to prune your roses now without doing them any harm. No special treatment is required after pruning.

Pruning roses can be confusing because different varieties require different treatments. Here are the basics: In the spring, remove the dead and damaged canes as far back as necessary. Then, remove any suckers that arise from below the graft union, if there is one (the swelling near the base of the plant). Next, select the healthiest canes (thicker and bright green) and cut off the rest. If your roses are just a couple of years old, save about 3-5 canes. Save more on older plants. Lastly, cut the flowering canes back by one-third to one-half. Make your cuts about 1/4" above an outward-facing bud.

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