The Q&A Archives: Trimming of Rose Bush

Question: When is best time to trim a climbing rose bush and how short can I trim it.

Answer: Large-flowering climbing roses have flowers borne on wood that is 2 or more years old. This group should be pruned in autumn, any time before cold weather sets in but you can prune yours now. First cut out dead and diseased canes. After this, remove 1 or 2 of the oldest canes each season to make room for new canes. The laterals, or side shoots, are shortened 3 to 6 inches after flowering. If the plant is strong, keep 5 to 8 main canes, which should be tied to the trellis, fence, wall, or other support. If you want to completely renovate your climber you can prune everythng down to about 2 feet from the ground but you won't get any flowers until the new growth matures for a couple of years and new lateral or side shoots develop.

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