The Q&A Archives: When to prune roses in Zone 5

Question: I have miniature and shrub roses. I have seen several articles that recommend pruning in January, but a few suggest early spring. When is the best time for my zone?

Answer: Most shrub roses (and species roses) need only a very light trim to shape them a bit and remove dead, shaggy wood. You don't want them to look too formal, their natural free flowing shape is part of the charm. If your shrub roses bloom only once per season, prune after they bloom. If they are repeat bloomers, prune in winter or very early spring. Prune a miniature rose with a light hand, if you have a "micro-mini" variety, don't prune at all. Major pruning (and really, how major can it be with a mini?) should probably be done in March or April, prune any time of year to remove dead wood or spent blooms. First, remove any dead wood down to the nearest healthy, dormant, bud eye. Make the cut at least 1" below the deadened area. If no live buds remain, remove the entire branch or cane to the bud union. Also cut out weak, spindly growth or canes that cross (remove the weaker of the two). Remove any suckers.

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