How to Prune Rose Bushes for Winter


The function of pruning roses for the winter is to encourage the bush to go into dormancy. According to the University of California Agricultural Resources, roses will bloom year-round, if the temperatures are warm enough. Bushes go into dormancy to generate new, stronger growth in the following growing season. Prune roses for the winter in late-September or early-August, after the primary blooms fade.

Step 1

Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands from the thorns on the rose bush.

Step 2

Spray a pair of sharp pruning shears with disinfectant spray until slightly moist. Allow to air dry for several minutes. Spraying protects the rose bush from exposure to potential bacteria or disease.

Step 3

Examine the base of the rose bush. Cut all shoots of newer growth flush with the base of the rose bush or with the ground.

Step 4

Spray a hand saw blade with disinfectant spray until slightly moist. Allow to air dry for several minutes.

Step 5

Saw off all limbs and branches of the rose bush. This will induce the rose bush to go into the needed period of dormancy.

Step 6

Saw off the trunks of the rose bush to 3- to 6- inches high.

Step 7

Water the rose bush at the base with 1- to 3-inches of water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Hard-pruning can kill or severely damage rose bushes if done during the very cold months, such as November through January.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Sharp pruning sheers
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Hand saw
  • Water


  • University of California Agricultural Resources: Rose Pruning Facts
Keywords: prune rose bushes, winterize rose bushes, rose bush pruning

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.