How to prune roses in 7 Basic steps- Read Bonus Tips and Basics!

how to prune roses

Roses grow heavy bushes every year. It is a fact that the roses will die due to lack of pruning also, the heavy bushes are against the survival of the plants. The pruning of roses maintain the health and the shape of the plant. Also, bushy rose plants reduce blooming and decline the shape of the plant, making them look untidy.

Weak and dead stems make the roses prone to various pests and diseases. Pruning roses let healthy flowers bloom fresh. Removing the dried and dead out leaves makes the plant strong and fresh, and resistant to diseases. That is why pruning is essential. Now let us see how to prune roses!

To prune roses, firstly, the remaining leaves must be removed. Cut the dead and damaged woods first. Open up the plant’s central stem by separating the tangled stems. Then cut the thin and weak stems and later seal them. When everything is over, clear the surrounding neatly. This is all you need to know about pruning roses. 

It is quite easy for you when you just know the basics of how to prune roses. Even if you are inexperienced, you can achieve handsome results by following some simple methods. 

How to prune roses in 7 simple steps

how to prune roses for winter
How to prune roses for winter

Here are the steps which will make your pruning really easy in no time! Following eight simple steps will give you a clear notion about how to prune roses effectively and systematically in proper order:-

1. Removal of remaining leaves

In this very first step, you need to remove all the leaves that the plant had borne. This action will help you thoroughly study the structure of the arrangement of the bush, and all the canes would become visible. This will also remove all the pests and diseases that the plant accumulated during the winter. 

2. Remove the dead canes first

For this one, you must know how to cut roses. To identify a dead cane, cut the individual cane a bit from the top. Look into the centre of the cut portion. If it is brown, it’s dead, and if it’s green, it’s alive; on finding the dead cane, cut it up to the base. This is the second step of how to prune roses. 

3. Find the centre of the plant

The third step is all about clearing the tangled and crossed over stems and then separating them. The crossed over stems may rub against each other and may cause the growth of pests and diseases. Open the canes up to the centre of the plant. See that the shape of the plant after opening up becomes like a flower vase facing upward. 

4. Removal of weak canes

If you find any thin or weak cane, just remove it from the soil. This keeps the plant healthy. 

5. Pruning the remaining canes.

pruning the canes
Pruning the canes

The other canes, which are intact and healthy, cut them 1/4″ to 1/2″ above a bud eye. Make sure that the bud eye is outward faced as the new stems must grow in the direction of the bud eye, which must be outward and not inward. 

6. Sealing of fresh cuts

The end portions of the cut stems, which are fresh, must be sealed in order to protect them from pests and rot. Bonide’s garden rich pruning sealer can be used to seal the cut portions of the stem.

7. Cleaning and Feeding

After pruning the plant, clean the surrounding areas neatly by disposing of aff the leaves and stems. Try to dispose of them at a distance as they may contain pests and diseases. 

Feed the roses with Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer-Spikes as the rose plants consume a very high amount of nutrition. So the fertilizer used must be long lasting. 

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Basics for how to prune roses

pruning roses in spring
Pruning roses in spring

When to prune roses?

Besides knowing how to prune roses, let us look into the perfect condition and period to prune roses. A period between the late winter and the early spring is ideal for pruning roses. This kind of season can be available in January or May, depending upon the climate. 


Most of the pruning is done in early spring only. This is because the last frost in a colder climate gets blown away after the early spring. After pruning, we can also take it out when the plant would bud or grow out their leaves. 


Thinking of pruning roses in summer? You can clear the dead flowers off the plant anytime during the summertime very easily. This is when the plant starts to bloom. Deadheading during this season makes the flowers grow attractive and very healthy. It also causes bushes to grow mature. 


To prevent the stems from getting snapped in winter storms, you must cut the longer stems to shorter. Keeping the stems short prevent them from being uprooted by a heavy storm. Remove the branches crossed over one another because that condition may damage the plants due to rubbing.

Do not go for extreme pruning, as this may decline the growth of the plant. Remember to clear the dead canes or foliage using sterilized and fresh tools to prevent the transfer of infectious diseases. 

Materials required to prune roses

how to prune roses after they bloom
How to prune roses after they bloom
  • Good gloves: To protect our forearms, we must use gauntlet style gloves to handle the garden utensils and tools. 
  • Bypass shears: Overlapping bypass shears make the cuts clean and in proper shape. It does not break the canes. You must avoid using anvil shears as the meeting blades can crush or damage the stems. 
  • Heavy long sleeves: This prevents the thrones from pricking and injuring you. 

How to prune roses to proper height?

Keep the height constant and prune your roses up to the height you want your roses to grow. For the canes which are back of the border, keep them longer but remember to maintain a constant height. If the cane is at the front of a border, trim them to lower, making their height short.

There are some hybrid varieties that are characterized by bigger flowers and longer stems, the more you trim them. If they are kept taller, they grow a larger number of flowers of smaller size. 

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How to prune Roses of different varities? 

Here are the basics types of roses you might need to prune!-

Climbing roses

when to prune roses
When to prune roses

Climbing roses differ from normal roses with respect to the way the climbers grow. These kinds of roses are found to generate two types of canes- main stem and lateral stems. The stems that grow from the base are called the main stem, and the ones that grow from the flowers are called lateral stems.

The more you trim the lateral stems, the more would the plant bloom. There is no need to make the buds face outward and make a flower vase-like bush shape in case of climbing roses. 

Knock out roses

why is my rose bush growing but not blooming?
Pruning rose bushes

These roses are mature for pruning when they reach a minimum height of 3-4 feet. Normally pruning shrub roses is suitable in early spring or late winter when budding begins. As the flowers grow only on new stems, so the dead, broken or dried stems must be cut from the base.

Knock out roses must be reduced to one-third of their height. Deadheading knock out roses leads to the increased density of new bloom. The rose hips produced by knock out roses stimulate the plants to become dormant. So they must be removed. 

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How to prune roses off the rose hips?

Small and round, mostly orange coloured fruits produced post pollination in a warmer climate are called rose hips. They instinct dormancy in the plant.

These are usually found in fall and winter. The rose hips are adopted by the warmer region plants to signal the plants to go dormant. 

Where to prune rose?

Besides talking about how to prune roses, let’s have a look into where to start pruning. We must begin our pruning from dead, dried or damaged canes.

Some canes which have died due to suffocation under snow or high winter must be removed first. We must make a note to prune the plant in such a way that it forms a ‘V’ shaped bush. 

How to prune roses expertly

when to prune roses
When to prune roses

Whenever you find an odd red or reddish-brown branch on the plant, you can definitely identify it as a dead or dried up branch. If the plant produces natural red coloured canes, then identifying the dead branches in this way becomes difficult.

You can also identify dead branches by their yellow or splotchy colour appearance. Watch the plants thoroughly throughout the growing season to identify the type of bush it is producing.

For the plants blooming when it is just growing, you must prune the plant next year, just before the ending of dormancy. Again if it is found that the plant is bearing flowers too early on the previous year’s cane, you must prune it after the blooming is complete. 

Some varieties like centifolia, alba, Damask and gallica do not require frequent pruning as they produce flowers on previous year’s old stems. You just need to remove the dead and damaged canes and keep the plant in proper shape. 



1) Which month is perfect for pruning roses in Australia?

June to July is the perfect time in Australia to prune roses, but if the roses are planted in colder regions, then you must wait till August to prune your roses so that the winter frost does not knock out the newly grown stems. The dead and dried stems must be removed totally while pruning. 

2) How to prune roses to proper height?

After pruning, the height of roses must get reduced to 18 to 24 inches. If you bloom shorter, the number of flowers will be small, but the size of the flowers will be large. On the other hand, if you keep the canes tall, there will be a large number of small-sized blooms. 

3) How to prune roses with proper spray?

During winter, spray the roses with lime sulphur post pruning. This clears the fungal spores and eggs and removes the pests so that fresh roses grow in spring. Roses with black spots and mildew during the growing season needs to be sprayed after pruning. 

In the end..

It is not a big task to master how to prune roses. Even the inexperienced gardeners can make out positive results from their work of pruning roses. The landscape roses are those that produce nice shapes themselves without much pruning. Growing such variety is beneficial as their vibrant colour gives a splendid appearance to the garden.

Pruning roses make the flowers bloom vigorously and make the plants strong and diseases resistant. If you liked our article about how to prune roses, Check out other similar blogs-

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