What Time Of Year Do You Cut Back Roses?

Pruning Roses: A Comprehensive Guide

Rose gardening can be a rewarding hobby, but keeping your roses looking their best requires regular pruning throughout the year. In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of pruning and share tips on when and how to prune your roses for best results. Let’s get started!

Benefits of Pruning Roses

Pruning helps keep your rose bushes healthy and increases the number of blooms you’ll get next season. It can also help control the size and shape of your plants, improve air circulation, and reduce disease problems by removing dead or diseased stems or branches.

Different Types of Roses

Roses come in many varieties, from small bushes to climbing roses that can reach up to 20 feet in height! Each type has its own unique pruning requirements, so it’s important to identify what type of rose bush you have before you start pruning.

When to Prune Healthy Canes

For most healthy rose bushes, pruning should be done in late winter or early spring, right after your last frost date (which is typically around Jan 30th in 2023). This is the best time to shape up your roses and cut back any dead or diseased stems or branches.

When to Prune Other Types of Roses

Climbing roses need to be pruned twice a year—once in late winter/early spring and again in late summer/early fall—to encourage new growth and increase flowering potential for next season’s blooms. If you have an old-fashioned variety like an Alba or Damask rose, they can be shaped up a little more in late summer, but beyond that they don’t need much additional pruning as these types are self-cleaning and don’t produce many blooms anyway.

Tools Needed for Pruning Roses

Before you start pruning, make sure you have the right tools on hand: clean sharp scissors or shears, clean sharp knife, garden gloves, dust mask, rake, wheelbarrow, ladder (for taller varieties), and some organic material such as compost or manure for replenishing soil nutrients after pruning is complete.

Step By Step Guide To Pruning Roses

Step 1: Remove Dead Stems

The first step is to remove any dead stems from your rose bush—these will appear brown and brittle when you touch them—using sharp scissors or shears.

Step 2: Cut Back Branches & Canes

Next, cut back any overgrown branches or canes that are crowding out other growth using sharp shears.

Step 3: Trim Foliage & Remove Suckers

Trim away any foliage that looks dead or diseased, as well as any suckers (small shoots growing from the rootstock) at ground level.

Step 4: Shape & Balance Your Rose Bush

Finally, shape up your rose bush into an attractive form by cutting away any excess growth until you achieve the desired look.

Potential Problems with Pruning Roses

When done correctly, pruning roses can help keep them healthy and looking their best throughout the season, however, if not done correctly it can cause damage to your plants—so it’s important that you follow proper techniques when pruning!

Also be aware that some diseases (such as black spot) can spread quickly through cuts made during pruning—so make sure all tools are clean before using them on your plants. Finally, don’t forget that different types of roses require different pruning techniques—so make sure you know what type of rose bush you have before getting started!

Common Questions About Pruning Roses

What time of year do I cut back my roses?

For most healthy rose bushes, it’s best to do so in late winter/early spring right after your last frost date (typically around Jan 30th). Climbing roses require two separate prunings—once in late winter/early spring and again in late summer/early fall—while old-fashioned varieties such as Albas & Damasks should only be shaped up a little more in late summer if needed.

How often should I prune my roses?

It depends on the type of rose bush you have—for most healthy varieties it should only be done once a year in late winter/early spring after your last frost date.


Pruning roses has many benefits including improved air circulation, increased flowering potential next season, and improved overall health of your plants! Different types require different prunings throughout the year so make sure you identify what type of rose bush you have before getting started! With proper technique & tools on hand it’s easy for anyone to become a pro at pruning their own roses!

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