pruning roses #314952
Asked April 20, 2016, 2:02 PM EDT
I have done no maintainance on my garden roses in front (south side) of the house. They have grown large and gangly and look out of control. I would like to cut them back to 2-3 feet in a more orderly shape. Is now a good time to prune? I do not know the variety but they bloom pink and red in the spring. Thanks.
Dakota County Minnesota
Thank you for the question. The strategies for pruning hardy roses are to control overall shrub size, thin old wood, and promote new vigorous flowering stems. The time to prune depends on the variety of rose you have. If your shrubs bloom only once in the spring, wait until after they bloom to prune otherwise you will cut off the bloom buds. If your roses bloom multiple times that means they bloom on new growth so you should prune early in the spring before growth starts. Whatever kind of rose you have, here are the pruning steps:
1. Remove all damaged, winter killed, and other dead wood.
2. Remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the oldest, least vigorous branches to the ground to promote growth of new more vigorous flowering branches.
3. Remove all crossing or rubbing branches.
4. Shape the bush by removing excessively long or out of place branches.
Here is our publication on pruning techniques: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/pruning-trees-shrubs/#renewal-pruning
Thank you for contacting Extension.