How to Prune Rose Bushes After Blossoming Ends


Roses provide gardeners with an annual show of color and fragrance, but only if they are cared for properly. Pruning in particular is essential for continued growth and to promote more blooms. According to Texas A&M University's Department of Horticulture, rose gardeners should not just prune their bushes while they are dormant and before blooms appear, but also after the flowers have faded. Because rose bushes are thorny, special care must be taken to prevent scratches and punctures as the job is performed, even though light, post-bloom pruning is not as labor intensive.

Step 1

Begin grooming rose bushes near the end of the growing season, usually in late summer around Labor Day, to get rid of unnecessary portions that are growing too close to each other and to make way for more aggressive pruning in the spring.

Step 2

Prune rose bushes that are dry rather than those that are still wet from dew, rain or watering to prevent the spread of diseases.

Step 3

Leave all the healthy foliage on bushes rather than deadheading the blooms or significantly cutting back on branches.

Step 4

Don leather gloves and with the loppers remove the smaller stems and growth that did not result in much foliage or flowers.

Step 5

Remove the stems that have crossed over each other during summer growth to increase air circulation and allow for more sunlight to penetrate the center of the bush. Get rid of any canes that have died.

Step 6

Prune back to two or three eye buds on ever-blooming variety laterals that grew flowers during the past year. Remove the oldest canes at their bases on plants that are established. Cut off spent blooms with hand pruners to one strong eye bud. Tie canes in place as they mature.

Step 7

Get rid of old, unproductive wood and weak canes on rambling roses and once-blooming varieties right after the flowers bloom.

Step 8

While pruning, observe the general health of each bush and keep an eye pealed for common rose bush diseases, such as powdery mildew and blackspot, and for infestations of warm weather pests such as thrips. Completely remove and discard bushes that are diseased to avoid spreading the disease to nearby bushes.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Loppers
  • Leather gloves


  • Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture: Pruning Methods
  • University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: Rose Pruning Facts
  • University of Illinois Extension: Pruning Our Roses
Keywords: fall rose pruning, purning roses, rose bush grooming

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.