The Q&A Archives: Pruning Shrub Roses

Question: I have a number of "Carefree Beauty" shrub roses. Last <br>year the bushes grew very unevenly and I wonder if I can keep these bushes trimmed to a shape that I like or is it best to just let them grow wild?

Answer: Shrub roses, such as Carefree Beauty, do benefit from annual pruning to keep them looking tidy. This spring, you can lightly shear back the plants and remove any canes damaged by winter. You can also remove crowded canes in the middle of the plants. Throughout the growing season, feel free to shorten any wayward canes by up to one-half their length. Make your cuts about 1/4" above an outward-facing bud. By late summer, it's time to stop pruning your shrubs because the plants need to begin slowinggrowth in preparation for hardening off for winter. I hope these suggestions improve the shape of your plants.

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