Pruning Roses - Knowledgebase Question

Montclair, Ca
Question by lisguevara
March 17, 2010
My mother's rose bushes hardly bloom. We think she might not be pruning them at the right time. What time of the year should they be pruned and how much?

Answer from NGA
March 17, 2010


In your warm winter region, January or February are the target months for major rose pruning. You can do it now, though, because it is still early in the season. There are only a few things to remember about pruning roses: Blooms are produced on new growth, so retaining the old growth won't be beneficial to your rose bushes. You can safely cut hybrid tea roses to about two feet above the graft. Standard roses are usually grafted onto a 2-3 foot understock, so prune these about 18 inches above the graft. Try to prune some of the old canes out and leave three to five vigorous canes on each plant. Always use sharp pruners when cutting roses, and always cut to anoutside facing bud in the direction you want the plant to grow. If you remove all of the dead, crossing and rubbing canes, plus all of the long, unruly stems, you should end up with a sturdy, compact plant. Prune in January or February before the spring surge of growth and don't fertilize until the plants start putting out new growth. Rose buses should receive at least one inch of water per plant per week. Form a basin around the stem of the plant to hold water and then water deeply enough for the moisture to penetrate all through the root area. Best wishes with your roses!

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