The Q&A Archives: Pruning Roses

Question: I am confused when to plant and when to prune roses. I don't know how to prune or what months to plant roses. This is my first time with roses. Help!

Answer: Roses are generally planted in the early spring, as soon as bare-root plants are available at nurseries. You can lightly prune roses during the growing season by cutting off spent blooms, plus some of the stem. When cutting back, make sure to leave two sets of five-leaflet leaves. For rose bush renovation, wait until early spring, just before the first flush of growth. Cut back any suckers (canes that grow from below the graft on the stem), then prune to open the plant up to good air circulation. You can safely prune back about one-fourth of the previous season's growth without causing stress to your plant. For more detailed rose pruning information, try the book 'Roses for Dummies', by Lance Walheim, published by IDG Books, 919 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Suite 400, Foster City, CA 94404. ISBN# 0-7645-5031-4.

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