Pruning roses in spring
Any home gardener can successfully prune roses with these simple tips and a good pair of gloves with full hand and arm protection.
When To Prune
Spring is when hard pruning should be done. Hard pruning is when 1/3 to 1/2 of the bush is removed.
Hard pruning should only be done when the bush is over-grown or when it’s old and needs to be rejuvenated.
Yearly pruning should only be done to remove dead branches and to keep the bush tidy.
Start by removing all the dead leaves and rose hips. A rosehip is a small, round orange/red ball that forms on the rose bush at the end of the growing season. It’s the ‘fruit’ of a rose bush and is commonly used to make tea, jams and jellies.
Next, remove all dead canes (branches) with a sharp pair of shears. Brown canes are dead, green ones are alive. Prune all dead canes all the way down to the live wood.
Open up the center of the rose bush so air can circulate. Good air circulation will help prevent disease and pest infestation. Prune away center branches that are crisscrossing or weak.
The goal is to create a rose bush with all upward growing branches and a bush that has the shape of a vase. On green branches make cuts 1/2 inch (1.2cm) above
Clean Up, Seal and Feed
Clean up and discard all leaves and branches that have been removed from the rose bush just in case there is any disease or pests in the removed portions. Seal the freshly-cut ends with a sealing compound to protect the bush from rot and rose borers.
Roses need to be fed immediately after being pruned. Pruning stimulates new growth and available food will provide the bush with the nutrients needed for healthy growth and bloom production.
Roses need to be dead-headed throughout the growing season. Dead-heading is the process of removing faded blooms (spent flowers) to keep the bush looking tidy and promote new bud formation.
Dead-heading also provides light pruning to the bush and promotes new growth. Dead-head by snipping off the faded bloom that is above the next set of double leaves on the stem.