Woman pruning rose bushes with gloves on.

Rose bushes require fairly consistent maintenance. Roses that are happy, healthy and thriving can quickly become untamed and overgrown. If you need to trim back your roses, it’s important to wait until the right time of year. Read on to learn about the best time to prune rose bushes.

Wait Until Early Spring to Prune Rose Bushes

We recommend waiting until early spring to prune rose bushes, around the end of March. If you prune in the late winter, your roses may start to grow prematurely. When a new round of frost hits, all the nutrients the plants have pushed to the buds will be for nothing. By waiting until early spring, you allow the plant to direct as much nutrients as possible to new growth. This is ideal for long-term plant health.

Basic Steps for Rose Bush Pruning

Pruning methods vary by plant and location, but here are some general tips for rose pruning:

  • Wear gloves specifically designed for rose pruning to protect your arms. You may also want to wear a long sleeve shirt, tucked into the top of the gloves.
  • Remove dead wood and leaves left on the plant. You can tell if a stem is dead by cutting into it slightly. If it is brown, it’s dead. If it’s green, it’s still living.
  • Remove any weak growth on the plant. The general rule is to remove anything thinner than a pencil, but that may not be applicable for young plants.
  • Make all pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle to allow for water runoff.
  • Prune canes that are growing inward. Use bypass shears to cut about 1/2 inch above the bud eye. This is the bump on the stem where a leaf would form.
  • Clean up the ground after pruning to remove dead leaves, stems, and other debris.
  • If you’re training a climbing rose bush, attach it to the lattice with a loosely-tied zip tie. The canes should be pointed at a 45-degree angle, not straight up and down.

These are surface-level suggestions for rose pruning, and they may not work for every plant. If you’d like professional rose bush maintenance from a horticulturist, contact the experts at Berns Landscaping: 586-756-1145.

Rose Bush Pruning in the Summer and Fall

In the summer, trim any dead flowers on your rose bush. This will help direct nutrients to the other buds waiting to blossom. When the fall months set in, you can trim long stems to protect them from the wind. This will also prevent them from breaking in the winter. Don’t do too much pruning in the fall, or you may encourage a new round of growth. The remaining cleanup pruning can wait until the following spring.  

Get Complete Rose Bush Care from Berns Landscaping

Berns Landscaping offers professional rose pruning, bed care, estate gardening, and garden maintenance services. Our multi-talented staff of specialists knows how to properly care for each plant through each season. You’ll receive personalized, hassle-free care from a trusted team of landscaping professionals. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact Berns Landscaping at 586-756-1145.

Berns Landscaping
23500 Blackstone Ave
Warren, Michigan 48089

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