Climbing roses add beauty and elegance to a landscape, but only if they are taken care of and in good shape. Roses that have crowded one another out or are wilting and dying are as ugly as healthy roses are beautiful. Pruning anything in a garden or yard often fills homeowners with a sense of dread. That's no wonder, considering how easily one can foul up the procedure and do serious damage to the plant. When done properly, however, pruning will help to ensure the health and long life of your climbing roses.
Prune your once-blooming climbing roses in early fall, after they have finished blooming, and your repeat-blooming plants in late fall when they will be dormant.
Water the roses the day before you plan on pruning. According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, this will lessen the shock the plant experiences.
Remove all dead branches and those that are rubbing against one another to the point where they are causing wounds, which in turn open the pathway to disease. Make sure to cut the branches down to the base of the stem.
Remove the oldest and weakest canes to the bud union for once-blooming climbing roses, especially when many canes have sprouted that year. In the event there are few canes, cut them back to a few feet above ground level.
Prune away those old canes on repeat-blooming climbing roses that have started producing less vigorous and healthy-looking blooms. That will permit new canes to grow. As with once-blooming roses, make sure to cut them down to the base of the branch. The University of California Cooperative Extension also recommends removing all suckers or twiggy and dead growth coming from the bud union.