How To Prune Roses

There is no mystery how to prune roses. Respect only few rules and your plants will thank you with an abundance of blooms

After identifying the dead, damaged and diseased wood, which you have to remove first to get a clearer picture of your flowers, the next step is to search for the bud eyes where the cut should be made.

What is a "Bud Eye?"

A bud eye on a rose is the area on the stem where the growing of a new shoot happens.

You will always find several bud eyes on the canes. Dormant bud eyes, above leaves or leaf scars, sometimes are harder to find on older canes.

How To Prune Roses: The Cut 

Pruning should always be made ¼ inch above an outside pointing strong bud eye at an about 45 degree sloping cut.

The reasons are…


The Cut
  • Roses will direct their growth to the bud eye closest to the cut
  • Cutting at an angle away from the bud eye prevents water from collecting at the end of the canes and reduces danger of rotting
  • Choosing an outward-facing bud eye makes sure the new growth is directed away from the center

Make sure not to cut too close and not too far above the bud eye. If the cut is too tight, the bud eye can easily be damaged. On the other hand, if the cut is too far from it, the shoot can die back above the bud eye.

Cut cane-stumps

Cut cane-stumps and shoots without bud eyes and sprouts always at the cane-roots. Remaining cane-stumps dry out and are entry points for diseases.

Then thin out the plant, and rejuvenate it by pruning the old, needless canes.

Don’t forget to remove any suckers, from the root. They may look healthy but are much inferior to ordinary rose shoots.

Step back a few steps to get an impression of your pruning. At least the renewal pruning should result in a pleasant overall picture.

Tools For Pruning

The reason I want to talk about the pruning tools is, I always notice the using of old, rusty loppers, saws and shears in gardens.

Roses are sensitive to pressure, especially one-year-old shoots which consist of a thin bark and a soft core.

To avoid unnecessary damages to roses, we need proper cutting tools. The blades need to be sharpened and fine-tuned that there is no gap between the blades. Apply oil regularly to the moving parts.

To work with good tools is much easier and avoids squeezing and cutting-damages.  

Please always keep your tools clean, some gardeners actually disinfect their tools, before pruning their roses.

Robust and old canes shouldn't be pruned with shears but with special pruning saws. The position of the saw-teeth must not be too broad because that would cause damages on the canes.

Who wants to do a good pruning job must keep his tools in the best condition and should only work with professional garden tools.

Practical Pruning 

It is time to have a closer look to the practical pruning of the various rose types.

In the following chapters, we will figure out how to prune Tea roses, why Climbers need to be cut after the first flowering and when it is the best time to prune roses.

Where To Go Next


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