The Q&A Archives: roses

Question: when do you prune rose and how do you know how large to let the bush get?

Answer: Roses should be pruned every spring. If you prune them annually, you can control their size without too much trouble. Prune in late February or early March by cutting the canes down to about 24". Then choose 3-5 of the healthiest, thickest canes and cut all the rest down. Be sure to cut off any gray canes - they're too old to be productive. Then, on the 3-5 canes you've retained, cut each one back to an outward facing bud (in the direction you want the growth). New stems will be produced on these canes. Then, if you cut off the faded flowers by cutting the flowering stem back to a 5-leaflet leaf, you'll keep the rose bush trimmed during the summer months, too. Pruning in spring and then in summer should keep your rose bushes under 5' tall.

Best wishes with your roses.

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