How to Cut a Rose Bush


Cutting or pruning rose bushes is an important task for a gardener growing roses in his garden. Cutting a rose bush makes all the difference between how well the plants thrive and grow. A well-pruned rose bush becomes lush and full with abundant flowers, while and unkempt one becomes spindly and has fewer roses to enjoy. While it may seem like a daunting task, cutting a rose bush takes only a little know-how and really sharp shears.

Step 1

Prune a rose bush in early spring at the first sign of leaves and rose buds swelling. This should typically be after the last frost.

Step 2

Cut out the dead wood that is gray and has no new growth on it and cut out all spindly canes that are smaller than the width of a pencil. Cut these canes clear back to the ground.

Step 3

Remove all damaged wood that has cracked or is bent. Cut off directly below the damage on the cane, keeping the rest of the cane down to the ground, if it is alive and healthy.

Step 4

Cut out criss-crossed canes and those growing in toward the center; remove clear to the ground. A rose bush needs an open center with ample light and good air circulation for healthy growth

Step 5

Clip off any suckers that come up out of the base of the plant and remove all old flowers. Be sure to remove spent blooms during the growing season to encourage more abundant flowers.

Step 6

Shape the bush once all the canes are removed that need to be. Cut back the remaining healthy canes to one-third their length.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gardening gloves


  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: Pruning Rose Bushes
  • About Rose Bushes: Pruning Rose Bushes
Keywords: cutting rose bushes, pruning rose bushes, rose bush cutting

About this Author

Amy Madtson resides in southern Oregon and has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008, focusing on health and gardening for websites such as eHow and GardenGuides. Madtson has an Associate of Arts in business from Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington. She holds a childbirth educator certification and a one-year midwifery completion certificate.