The Q&A Archives: triming rosebush

Question: How far down can I cut my rose bushes? I had a bad summer with them this this year, the leaves were falling and turning colors. I stll had beautiful flowers. My friend said to cut them almost to the ground. Is that true? THANK YOU

Answer: Most roses are grafted onto vigorous root stocks so you'll want to be careful just how far down you prune your roses. If you prune below the graft, the resulting growth won't be at all like the roses your plant produces now. So, when the time comes to prune, you can safely cut 8-12" above the graft (swollen area on the main stem of the rose bush). Early spring is usually the best time to prune but you can prune in the late winter, after the rose bush goes into dormancy if you want to prune in the winter. Roses are susceptible to fungal diseases and pruning them way back will result in a more open growth pattern, which will allow good air circulation and good sunlight penetration, which can reduce the disease potential.

Best wishes with your roses!

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