How to Trim a Rose Bush for Winter


Rose bush canes grow and produce flowers for many years, but they eventually exhaust themselves and need to be removed. High winds can harm the roots of your rose bush if dead canes are allowed to remain on the bush. Care for your rose bushes before winter arrives by trimming away certain parts, no matter if they appear alive or dead. Covering the rose bushes in preparation for a harsh winter is also a good idea. Rose bush covers can be inverted garbage cans, garbage bags or plastic sheets.

Step 1

Place pruning shears at an upward 45 degree angle above a growth notch on a rose bush branch. Cuts are made at a 45 degree angle so that the new growth faces up and out. Prune rambler rose bushes in the early fall, after they have finished blooming. Prune most other types of rose bushes in the spring.

Step 2

Trim the dead wood from all types of rose bushes before winter arrives to avoid excessive wind damage. Look at the center of the branch left on the bush; if it is white, your cut is sufficient. If the center of the branch is brown, cut farther down the cane to make sure you remove all of the dead material.

Step 3

Trim away all of the leaves on your rose bushes during late October before the first frost. Allowing the leaves to remain on the rose bushes can lead to mold and bacteria growth that flourishes during a wet winter season. Discard the leaves or burn them, do not place them in your compost bin as any mold spores or bacteria will spread to the compost.

Step 4

Remove any debris on the ground beneath the rose bush. In addition to impacting the soil and the rose bush with potential bacteria and mold, debris also attracts pests and small animals.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure to wear thick gardening gloves when trimming your rose bushes. The thorns can be painful if they become embedded in your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves


  • The Black River: Fall and Winter Rose Care

Who Can Help

  • Rose Magazine: Pruning
Keywords: pruning roses, trimming rose bushes, caring for roses

About this Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.