How to Prune Rose Bushes for Spring


Rose bushes are not as tricky to prune as some would have you think. A few snips in strategic places, and your roses will spring to life. The best time to prune these plants for the upcoming growing season is typically in March, but there are a few types that take longer to bloom that might require pruning in late February.

Step 1

Snip off any deadheads you missed after blooming the previous year in late February or March before spring growth. You can also snap them off with your fingers.

Step 2

Snip off woody stems where flowers bloomed the year before. Sometimes the stem below where the blooms were turns wooden, and it needs to be snipped to encourage new growth.

Step 3

Cut out damaged or diseased branches to promote a healthy plant.

Step 4

Cut out sucker growth, which are branches that form below the base of the bush where the main branches are formed.

Step 5

Select two or three branches within the bush and snip them out to allow air to circulate once spring arrives. Try to choose weak or less healthy branches. If you had to cut out quite a few dead or diseased branches, you might not need to do this.

Step 6

Cut back branches right when new growth is developing. Trim back to a bud that is facing to the outside of the bush, cutting about 1/4 inch above the bud and snipping at an angle. Depending on how large you want the bush to be, you can trim back a large amount or barely any at all.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning snips


  • Texas A&M Extension Services: Pruning Methods
  • Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society: Demystifying the Rose Pruning Process
Keywords: prune rose bushes, rose spring preparation, rose bush care