The Best Way to Prune Rose Bushes for Winter


Most varieties of roses require some winter protection. Roses in milder zones need only a small amount of winter protection, while those farther north require stronger measures to survive harsh winter weather. Hardy varieties of roses require less winterization attention as well. Most varieties need winter mounding and pruning. Pruning roses for winter is an important step in ensuring their survival, but it must be done properly, to provide the desired winter protection.

Step 1

Shovel extra soil around a center of each rose bush, making a mound about 8 inches high at the base of the bush. This protects the soil during periods of alternating freeze and thaw. Wait until after the first frost, but be sure to do it before the hard freezes.

Step 2

Remove branches that cross the center of the plant, or rub against larger canes, as well as thin, spindly shoots, with a pair of sharp pruning shears.

Step 3

Cut longer canes back to about 4 feet, at a 45 degree angle.

Step 4

Bind remaining canes together with soft twine. This provides protection from being thrashed and damaged by wind and adverse weather.

Step 5

Mulch lightly in milder climates, but use straw or hay in colder regions.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Soft twine
  • Mulch


  • "Sunset Western Garden Book"; Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, eds; 1998
  • "10,000 Garden Questions Answered by 20 Experts"; Dietz, Majorie J., ed; 1982
  • Berkley Horticulture Nursery: Pruning Old Roses
Keywords: Pruning roses, Winter roses, Winter Pruning

About this Author

Kaye Lynne Booth has been writing for 13 years. She is currently working on a children's, series and has short stories and poetry published on;; Stastic Motion Online. She is a contributing writer for, Gardener Guidlines, and She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in Computer Science from Adam’s State College