When to cut back Rose Bushes

chadnliz(5)September 25, 2005

Hello everyone, Im at the new house now. I would like to know when to cut back rose bushes, can I do them now, and how far back or do I wait in the spring to do it. I used to have a few of them years ago...but cant remember when I pruned them. Thanks so much Liz

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blueheron(z6 PA)

It isn't recommended to do much pruning now, because it encourages new growth which you don't want in the fall when they're going into dormancy.

However, to keep the long canes from flipping around in the wind, trim them back to a managable height after frost so that they won't sprout. Then in the spring you can cut them back to about 8-10."

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 6:49PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I agree with blueheron....but I don't cut mine back so far....I leave them easily 24 inches...
But it depends on what kind of roses you have.....
I grow mostly rugosas, Austin and shrub roses.....tea roses I cut back to 8 to 10 inches.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 8:58PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

another rose question, when I trim...do I cut back to the heel wood?

I am confused about exactly the best way to trim mine. I brought them back to life when I moved in with Fiance who had been pretty much ignoring them...they were awful and it's a miracle I've been able to get them to recover.

Does anyone have a good link for triming roses?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 10:08AM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

As Linda said, it depends what kind of roses you have. The old garden roses are usually not pruned back very far. The hybrid teas are pruned down to 8-10" as I mentioned above. For climbers, it is sometimes recommended to cut one or two of the oldest canes back to the ground leaving the younger canes, which are more prolific bloomers.

There are tons of info about pruning roses on the internet, but as a rule of thumb for HT's, cut the rose cane at an angle just above a 5 leaflet leaf.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 7:55PM
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I live in beauiful san diego, I've been growing roses for the last 5 years, Im not sure when to prune them back, the local growers tell me nov-dec time frame, most internet posting recommend feb-mar and some in jan. please help set a schedule.

thenk you,

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 11:19AM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

Steve, a gardener who lives in your zone will be the best advisor to you about pruning your roses. Perhaps a neighbor. Those of us who live in cold-winter climates have a different time frame for pruning roses.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 8:22PM
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Steve, I'm north of you in Calif. and we prune late December into January.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 9:28PM
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I have several bushes that are leggy and bare. The canes are green and I'm beginning to get some growth. I usually get 15 to 20 blooms per bush but I want to cut them back so they will grow in more of a bush shape. Any tips?


    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 4:39PM
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Hi i have never been a gardener but my husband died last year and in the garden i planted a rose bush and put he's ashes underneath but it has grow over 10 foot one long stem and many stem coming out on sides could you please advise me what to do i am frightened what if i start cutting it wrong i will kill it i live in London uk many thanks june

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 1:03PM
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I think I know that I live in zone seven but I still do not know when to trim mine back. Please help. Faith

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 1:11AM
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I would like to know when our Rose Bushes should be cut back and also how close are they to be cut back from the ground. Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 9:11AM
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philomena(z 5A NY)

I have a couple rose bushes. I leave the shrub roses and those like the Flower carpet roses alone - don't cut at all. But the other roses I cut back almost to the ground every year in late November. They come back just fine each spring. I make sure to mulch well around the base. During the season, I prune back spent flowers to the first 5-leave stem, and they re-flower very nicely. This all seems to work where I am, in the mid-hudson valley, in NY State. Every gardener and landscaper I asked around here has always said you can cut back roses as much as you want, and they rebound. If they are scraggly, definitely cut back dead canes and crossing branches.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 4:29PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

June, your climate is very similar to mine - following the lead of my neighbors who grow more roses than I do, I've pruned mine. It's an annual ritual, when I see the gorgeous rose border down the street has been shaped and pruned - I come home and do my own.

Check the link for specific steps and don't be overly worried...It's very hard to damage a healthy rose. Just look for the outward facing buds so your shrub doesn't form growth aiming inwards. A little openess and air circulation towards the center helps a lot toward preventing the foliage diseases.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning Roses

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 11:46PM
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philomena(z 5A NY)

Here'a another link that says to prune in spring - I was surprised with this link and the one above, since I was told by many experieneced gardeners to cut back in very late fall - as I stated earlier, though, my roses seem to be doing fine each year!


Here is a link that might be useful: About.com - when to prune roses

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 7:46AM
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i want to move 8 rose bushes. They are long stemed(i think). When is the best time and how do i move them. Maybe i would like to seperate the plant as they seem to be out of control.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 10:35AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

What kind of roses.....where do you live?
Roses don't need to be "separated" as perennials do.
Depending on where you live....the best time to move the roses may be late March.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 11:37AM
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can i cut my roses back even if its frosty or will i kill them

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 3:58AM
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not to change the subject but is there anything i can do about those little monsters called japaniese beatles that are devouring my roses?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 2:01PM
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My dad used to hand pick them out & squish them. I think that's how you have to do it. So far, I don't have them. Does systemic feeder/killer stuff handle them? My roses seem to be doing great and I have never been successful before.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 8:45PM
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Four years ago when my mother passed away, while I was getting her house ready to sell, I discovered a long-forgotten rose bush that my father had 'accidentally' mowed over 10 years ago...it was growing again!!! I dug it out by the root ball and temporarily transplanted it into a large pot. It had been growing and last summer got blooms. Last fall my ex-husband thought he'd do me a 'favor' and cut back the bush. It almost died. I've been nursing it back and it's growing again but only up, not bushing out. I never knew what kind of rose it is but remember Mom having a trellis bohind the bush but can't remember how tall the bush grew. Any thoughts???

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 12:12PM
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greetings, i live in maryland and have a rose bush that is apprx. 10 ft. tall which is starting to show buds. i'd like to trim it back, however it's mid-April. Is it too late to cut back the bush and how far should I trim back?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 9:34AM
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    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:07PM
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