The basic principles of rose pruning are the same, regardless of the rose type, but the timing of pruning, amount to remove, and objectives are slightly different, depending on the type. Here’s how to prune roses.


Materials you may need

  • Hand pruners
  • Gloves

Why it’s important to prune roses: 4 basics to pruning roses

  • Remove dead and diseased branches.
  • Rejuvenate the plant and encourage blooming.
  • Encourage airflow through the shrub.
  • Control size and shape.

Basics of pruning roses:

  • Whether you’re pruning roses to reduce the size, deadheading spent blooms, pruning to shape the shrub, or pruning for airflow, you’ll always cut the same way.

When to pruning roses:

  • A good rule of thumb is to wait until the very early of spring to prune roses to reduce size, encourage spring growth, and rejuvenate the shrub. Prune to remove dead or diseased growth at any time, though it is best to avoid major pruning from late summer through early winter, as the shrubs will be starting to go dormant. Deadhead as the flowers fade to keep shrubs blooming longer.  

Pruning to remove dead and diseased growth:

  • Pruning damaged or diseased growth is important so insects don’t take up residence in dead branches and multiply. 

Pruning to promote airflow:

  • Prune to promote airflow at the same time you prune to reduce size

Pruning to rejuvenate growth:

  • Some shrubs benefit from “renewal pruning.“ This is the practice of removing one-third of the plant’s growth each year, starting with the oldest growth in the first year.