pruning a rose bush - Knowledgebase Question

Pittsburgh, Pe
Question by maaestros
March 29, 2010
We have a tea rose bush planted 25 years ago. I've never pruned a rose bush. Can you recommend a book or give a brief instruction.
Thank you.

Answer from NGA
March 29, 2010


I can't tell from your question whether your hybrid tea rose has not been pruned in 25 years or that you have never pruned a rose before but your tea rose has been pruned on an annual basis. If it has been well maintained, there's no reason you can't prune it back. If it has never been pruned it will take a visit from a rosarian to see what you might be able to remove without harming the shrub.

I'm going on the assumption that the rose has been pruned in the past, just not by you. Here's how to prune roses:

The best time to prune shrub roses is in early spring, just as the buds begin to swell on the canes. Start by pruning everything back to about knee-high. The choose the healthiest looking 3-5 canes and remove all the other canes. On the 3-5 canes you allowed to remain, cut each down to an outward facing bud. This will open the center of the plant up for better air circulation (to help avoid diseases) and will promote healthy new growth. Roses bloom on new stems so after yours have bloomed, cut the flowering stem down to a 5-leaflet leaf and new flowering stems should appear. Your potted rose bush can be given an overall trim now. You can cut it back by about a third and it should produce lush new growth and maybe even some new flowers later in the season.

Best wishes with your rose.

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