The Q&A Archives: Pruning Rose Bushes

Question: When should you prune rose bushes to about 18"? Should red running roses be pruned the same way or left alone?

Answer: After two hard frosts have hit your area (I am not sure of what part of Texas you are in and what your winters are like) cut rose canes back to approximately 15 inches. Cut out all unproductive or spindly canes, strip all leaves from the canes, clean beds thoroughly of all debris, apply a dormant oil spray such as Volyck (dormant oil is optional), and then build a mound of mulch (cypress works well) over the bud union approximately 12" high. You can also use rose cones for this step. If by runningroses you are referring to climbers or ramblers, they should not be cut back in the fall. The crown and bud union should be mulched however, same as above. An optional step is to wrap the canes of the climbing/rambling rose with burlap for extra protection against dehydrating winds.

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