The Q&A Archives: Pruning Roses in preparation for Winter

Question: We have some beautiful shrub roses. It is November and the ground is starting to freeze. I usually wait for the leaves to fall off of the stems before I prune and cover with mulch. This year the late warm weather has allowed the leaves to stay on. Should I prune now and mulch or wait for the leaves to fall?

Answer: Typically, colder night temperatures signal roses to go into dormancy. If you prune before the leaves fall, the roses may try to produce new growth - not something you want at this time of year. I'd wait until the foliage dies off, which will indicate the plants are going dormant. You can prune then, or you can wait until spring to do your pruning. Best wishes with your garden!

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