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Pruning Rose Bushes

Category Roses
Depending on the type of rose, you want to make sure you are pruning it at the right time of year and in the right way. This guide is about pruning rose bushes.


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May 3, 2017

When pruning a rose bush or when taking cuttings for the home or rooting, the cuts should be sealed. A white waterproof glue should work well. Sealing is to prevent access of the rose cane borer. This insect can cause much damage to the plant. My advice is to seal all cuts whether made during borer season or not.

What prompted me to write this tip is information found on the Internet by various sources, (even by the Santa Clara Rose society. Golly!). It is stated that there is no need to seal cuts smaller than a pencil, with various reasons (or none), given. I disagree. My proof is in the picture.

Don't let the 'super macro' setting of my camera fool you. (I did not have a free hand to hold an object for comparison). The uncut stem to the right of the stem showing entryway of the borer is much smaller than a pencil. The stem damaged by the borer is even smaller. I rest my case.

(I noticed you looking at my finger. No fingerprint. What? Maybe he accidentally burned it off. Maybe he's a wanted felon and intentionally burned it off. Golly, not our Doug!

No. I'm just a privacy advocate, that's all. If you all knew how much information about you is gathered without your consent, (right down to fingerprints and iris prints, mostly via the Internet), many of you would be afraid to go out of the house or get on the Internet.

Four or five years ago, I made a statement in a video I put on YouTube. I stated that Google was determined to get the voice print of everyone on this planet. I was correct. Google is collecting those prints, now. I wont put a verifying link, here. Maybe in a privacy tip.)

Back to the tip at hand. If you should encounter a rose borer, don't touch it. They can sting like the dickens.

Happy rose gardening, Y'all!

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 2

October 5, 20030 found this helpful

Pruning is an important and necessary step in growing roses. Pruning keeps the plant healthy. It promotes new growth, removes dead, broken or diseased canes and trains roses to a desired shape. Pruning encourages flowering, either more blooms or larger blooms, and is essential to keep modern rose varieties blooming repeatedly all summer long.


pruners tend to crush the stems. Leather gloves will help protect your hands.

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Published by: The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
December 18, 2010

I have a rose garden that I planted this fall. When do I need to prune them and is there a specific way to do so?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By blondie58 from Omaha, TX


January 7, 20110 found this helpful

You prune in spring. Cut them back to about 1 ft or so from the crown at the base of the plant.


Cut in a fan shape. See any good gardening book or search online for how to make the actual cuts when cutting the rose branches.

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November 30, 20060 found this helpful


When do I prune rose bushes?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Ida from Newbern, NC



Answers will vary depending on whom you ask (apparently every rose grower has a different opinion on pruning), but here is my advice.

As part of preparing your roses for winter, you may want to consider cutting back the stems to a length that will keep the overall form of your bushes somewhat tight. This will help to protect them from damaging winter winds. Some gardeners also recommend bundling (tying) the canes together for additional protection. If winter winds are not a concern in your garden, wait until spring before you prune. In mid-February to mid-March, just as the buds break dormancy, cut your roses back as desired to control their size and shape.


You'll need to watch the buds closely. If you prune to early, you'll be putting future growth at risk for cold or frost damage. Wait too long and your bushes may be weakened from a loss of sap. The best time to prune is when the buds begin to swell. This is also a good time to remove any dead, diseased or damaged stems and those that cross through the center of the bush and impede airflow.

Use a sharp set of pruning shears dipped in a 70% alcohol solution to avoid spreading disease. Cuts should be as clean as possible and angled at a slant. Cuts should end about 1/4 inch above an outside bud to encourage an outer direction of growth.



January 4, 20070 found this helpful

Roses generally bloom in summer but should be pruned late winter/early spring just as the buds appear. This can vary from late January to March depending on the area of the country you are in. Prune too early and you will cause early growth that is vulnerable to frost damage.


Prune too late and you will waste energy the plant already put into making the buds and leaves you remove. The best time is after the last frost when buds are beginning to swell. Hope that helps

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By 0 found this helpful
October 25, 2013

I have 10, 50+ year old single petal, rose bushes facing the north side of house. I always hesitate cutting them back, especially when unexpected cold weather is close to my area. I have 10 bags of mulch that have not been put down yet and know it helps the roots survive the winter months. Some of the rose leaves have spots, but it does not appear to be "black spot". Cold fronts are approaching my area from week to week. Is it safe to cut back limbs now? If so, how far back? Thank you for your help.

By Hilda E

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By 0 found this helpful
June 10, 2010

I know that all I have to do is trim my Rugosa Roses to keep them under control, but due to lack of time over the last 2 years I have a few areas that are out of control. Will a hard prune on these out of control branches create a problem for the whole plant and would it be better to prune now or can I leave it until after they bloom?



Hardiness Zone: 3b

By elaine from northern/central Ontario, Canada

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