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How And When to Prune Roses for Winter

Far from being a secondary task, pruning roses is vital for the plant. Not only its flowers depend on it, both in number and size. It also depends on it to maintain its size and vitality. Continue reading to learn all about how and when to prune roses for winter.

The tools you use to prune roses must be well-sharpened to make a perfect cut and allow the rose to heal quickly. Always disinfect before and after using pruning tools with alcohol. I recommend using gardening gloves and gardening sleeves for pruning roses.

As I mentioned earlier, the tools must have a sharp edge, otherwise, you could damage your rose bush. Pruning shears are very inexpensive and can be easily sharpened at home.

When to Prune Roses for Winter

When to Prune Roses for Winter? The optimal period for prune roses is during the late winter or early spring when new growth is starting to appear. The specific dates for pruning can vary depending on your location, with some regions pruning as early as January and others as late as May. If you want to schedule your pruning or set a reminder, here are some guidelines based on regional climates.

  • USDA Zone 3 and 4 – May
  • USDA Zone 5, 6, and 7 – March or April
  • USDA Zone 8 – February or March
  • USDA Zone 9 – January or February
  • USDA Zone 10 – January

The primary pruning of roses should be carried out during the early spring after the risk of frost has passed in colder regions. Dead flowers can be cut back at any time during the summer. This will encourage the development and growth of the rose.

To protect the roses from winter storms, cut back the longer stems after the first frost of the fall. Keep the roses from becoming too large to prevent them from being uprooted during high winds. Also, prune any branches that may be damaged by rubbing against each other. Get rid of any dead or diseased branches and foliage, and sanitize the cutting tools to prevent the spread of disease to other plants.

How to Prune Roses for Winter

How to Prune Roses for Winter? Respecting the calendar is fundamental, but it is not the only thing to keep in mind. Because just as important as when to prune roses for winter to do it correctly. An aspect that is often overlooked but is of vital importance. Continue reading to learn all about how and when to prune roses for winter.

Remove all remaining leaves from the rose bush. This way you will be able to properly observe the entire rose bush and see if it has any pests or diseases.

Start by cutting the dead wood from the rose bush. Deadwood is brown and live wood is green. By making a cut on a stem you can easily tell which wood it is.

Remove branches that intersect and may cause harm to each other, which can also lead to the development of diseases. The goal is to have branches that grow upward and form an open, vase-like shape.

Cut off shoots that are weak and thin. The general rule is to trim anything smaller in diameter than a pencil.

Trim the remaining canes. Cut them 1/4″ to 1/2″ above an outward-facing bud eye, which is a small protrusion located where a leaf stem meets the main stem. New growth will come from the direction of the bud and the objective is to promote outward growth, not inward growth. Make the cuts at a 45-degree angle that slopes away from the bud, to allow water to drain.

Additionally, after pruning the roses you can apply a pruning sealer to the branches to prevent certain pests and diseases. After pruning discard all the branches and leaves you removed.

Do not fertilize your roses after pruning. I recommend waiting 15 days to 1 month to apply a rose fertilizer. I recommend reading our article on how to fertilize roses. These were all the steps to know how and when to prune roses for winter.

how to prune roses for winter

Tips for Pruning Roses

Here are some tips for pruning roses that will be very useful:

  • Trim rose bushes during the late winter or early spring before the start of new growth.
  • Remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Cut back to healthy wood.
  • Cut back old canes to about 6 inches (15 cm) from the base. This will encourage new growth.
  • Eliminate any canes that are intersecting or coming into contact with one another.
  • Thin out the center of the bush to improve air circulation.
  • Cut back the remaining canes to about 3–5 buds. This will promote bushier growth.
  • Wipe your pruning shears with rubbing alcohol or a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to avoid spreading disease.
  • Always use clean and sharp pruning tools to make clean cuts.
  • Avoid pruning too severely, as this can stress the plant and delay blooming.
  • Always wear gloves and long-sleeved shirts while pruning to protect your skin from thorns.
tips pruning roses

Final Conclusions

Pruning roses is not difficult and should not be a garden chore that stresses you. Every year you should prune roses, and you should be prepared to prune them properly. Remember that if your rose bush is young it is not recommended to prune it until it is well-established in the garden.

I hope this article about how and when to prune roses for winter will be useful. If you want to know more about pruning roses, I recommend you to read our next articles:

When to Prune Knockout Rose Bushes

When to Prune Roses in Texas

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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