Rose Pruning in the Fall..I'm confused.. - Knowledgebase Question

Knoxville, Te
Question by jason73
April 29, 2010
Here's my issue. When the late fall hits and the plants are starting to go dormant, should I cut the roses back to the stem so that there are no leaves left? And then in the Spring, trim weak/dead branches, suckers and cross branches? Last season, I did not remove any branches through pruning because it is a young bush (2 years). Thanks for your help.

Answer from NGA
April 29, 2010


Roses are typically pruned in the early spring, just as new growth begins. In places where winters are harsh, they can be pruned back after the first frost sends them into dormancy so they can be protected with rose cones or wire cylinders filled with leaves or straw. In areas where winters are mild and roses never really go into dormancy, the leaves should be pulled off the plants (to prevent the spread of disease) in December and the roses should be pruned in February. So, the answer really depends upon the harshness of your winter weather. Your roses should be pruned back each spring to encourage healthy new growth. Start by cutting everything back to 18-24" from the ground. Then choose 3-5 healthy canes to save and remove everything else. When you're finished pruning, you should have a vase shaped plant with an open center. New flowering stems will develop on the canes. Hope this clears up any confusion!

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