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How To Prune Your Roses

How to Prune Rose Bushes


Rose bushes are beautiful in any garden, and they grow tall, their leaves seem to be wild, and their thorns get bigger. To make it look better, it is necessary to prune them back, to remove their bushy look and enhance their beauty.

An easy guide to dead-heading and pruning tea roses and large climbing roses.


  1. Rinse shears in alcohol before pruning. Rinse them again before moving on to another bush. This step disinfects your shears and prevents the transfer of diseases, such as black spot, between the plants.
  2. Cut at a 45 degree angle, with the slope of the angle heading toward the center of the plant.
  3. Prune in the early spring, after the last hard freezes. Pruning isn’t usually needed for the first two springs after planting a new rose– just dead head regularly the first couple of years.
  4. Seal pruning cuts with inexpensive white glue or carpenter’s glue. This prevents rose boring insects from invading, and helps prevent stem diseases.
  5. Learn that when dead-heading (removing spent blooms to encourage more blooming), cut the spent bloom off just above the first five leaf cluster.
  6. Pruning Tea Roses. When pruning severely, it’s best to wait until spring because the plant will put out new growth that would be injured by cold weather. Cut off any dead wood. Cut off 30% to 50% of the rest of the canes. 30 cm to 45 cm (12 to 18 inch) high plants are reasonable.
  7. Pruning Big Climbing Roses (i.e. Dr Van Fleet). After the seasonal bloom, trim canes back just to shape the plant. Take out any long sucker canes. Trim any crossing canes that might damage other parts of the plant. When the rose gets too large after a few seasons, hack aggressively.
  8. Throw all debris in the garbage.


Pruning Tips


  • Do not use any part of the rose for compost. Diseases such as black spot survive and infect your roses.
  • Roses can take, and actually need, the pruning. Be brave and hack away.
  • Rake after you have pruned and add new mulch to the area. This will help to minimize the growth of rose diseases.
  • Use an anti-fungal spray recommended for roses. Spray after pruning and sealing cuts.
  • Seal pruning cuts with inexpensive white glue or carpenters glue.

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