At first glance, rose pruning can seem daunting. But it is something you can learn as you go and your roses will be just fine. Remember that pruning encourages growth and all that chopping will give you better looking roses the coming spring. Just follow these easy rose pruning tips. (If you need tools, check out our post on useful pruning equipment)

  • Always clean your pruners first and between plants with rubbing alcohol. Wiping the blades thoroughly with rubbing alcohol will stop you from spreading diseases between plants
  • Always use sharp pruners. If you aren’t well versed in sharpening tools, this little easy-to-use sharpening tool makes it easy
  • Prune out any out any branches that are thinner than your little finger. Also any dead or diseased branches
  • Remove any canes that are crossing or rubbing
  • Your goal is to open the center and keep 3-7 branches that form a vase shape.
  • Making 45 degree outward facing cuts just above a bud, remove about 1/3 the growth off the remaining canes (leaving a plant that is at least 12″ high)
  • Clean up any fallen leaves and dispose of them. (It’s best not to compost any leaves that may harbor disease.)
  • Spray with a dormant oil spray

Just remember, don’t panic. As long as you follow the clean pruners and cut no lower than 12″, you won’t do your roses any harm. What may happen is they don’t bloom as much as you like or they aren’t an attractive shape. Make note, and correct it next winter pruning. Pretty much any pruning invigorates them and makes them grow.

Need a visual? I find these videos helpful: