The Q&A Archives: My rose bush is 5 ft tall!!

Question: I have a rose planted in my front flower bed. I don't know what type it is, only that it produces large beautiful, very fragrant roses. My problem is that it has now grown like 5ft tall and I see some yellowing toward the bottom. I would like to prune it, but I don't want to lose it!!! What should I do and when?

Answer: As summer winds down, yellowing foliage is natural on rose bushes. March or April are the best months to prune roses so if you can wait until then, I'd encourage you to do so. If you prune now, you'll encourage a flush of new growth which will not have time to harden off before winter weather arrives. It will die over the winter months and you'll have to prune again in spring. So, wait until spring or at least until the rose bush is dormant (November or December).

To prune, cut all the canes down to about 2' from the ground. Choose the 3-5 healthiest looking canes to save and remove all the others. Of the 3-5 canes you've selected to save, cut each down to an outward facing bud, in the direction you want the new growth to take. When you've finished pruning you should have a vase shape with an open center. This will encourage good air circulation and sunlight penetration which will help keep your rose bush disease free and full of blooms. Enjoy!

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