What Is the Proper Way to Prune Rose Bushes?


Rose bushes generally need pruning in the spring and fall. During the summer months, it is usually only necessary to remove dead flower heads as they appear. Keep watering during the warmer months so your rose bush continues to grow. Rose bushes need approximately 1 to 2 inches of water per week. The pruning needs of every rose bush differs. Some species need more pruning than others. Hybrids typically need the most pruning. The closer you get to an actual "rose" species, the less pruning it will require.

Step 1

Cut off any dead branches in the spring at a 45-degree angle. Stay about 1/4 inch away from where the dead branch meets the living branch, also known as the bud union.

Step 2

Seal the cut end with a substance such as white glue. This will prevent borers or other insects from damaging your rose bush.

Step 3

Remove any sucker growths sprouting from the base of your rose bush. Remove any canes smaller than the width of a pencil. Canes are main branches growing up from the bottom of the rose bush.

Step 4

Look at the union buds, the place where two branches meet, and scrape off any gray, scaly matter you see.

Step 5

Prune each cane back to a dormant bud. New growth will produce small roses. Once pruned back, the dormant bud will begin to grow. This will help your rose bush produce more roses.

Step 6

Remove wilting flowers before they have a chance to seed. Check your rose bush every day or two while it is flowering and remove the fading roses.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • White glue
  • Utility knife


  • University of Illinois Extension: Our Rose Garden
  • Texas A&M System AgriLIFE Extension: Pruning Methods
Keywords: pruning roses, rose bush care, trimming flowers

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.