How to Prune Rose Bushes in Arizona


Rose bushes grown in Arizona have special cultural needs. Fortunately for rose growers in Arizona, roses in this region of the world suffer from fewer fungal infections than roses grown in more humid climates. Roses grown in Arizona, however, are susceptible to cane borers. Arizona roses are also particularly prone to drought stress and even more so after they are pruned. Keep your roses healthy by giving them extra attention after you prune.

Step 1

Prune all dead or diseased canes. These canes will appear black, brown, shriveled or otherwise discolored. Make your cut at least 1 inch below the diseased portion of the cane so you are cutting into green wood (or cut them back to their point of origin if the entire cane is diseased). You should see white, healthy pith in the center of the pruning cut you have made. If the pith is dark-colored, prune back further until you see healthy, white cane tissue.

Step 2

Prune canes that are thinner than a pencil in diameter back to their point of origin.

Step 3

Prune any branches that cross other branches or grow toward the center of the plant to increase the interior light penetration and air circulation.

Step 4

Cut the remaining canes back to a uniform height--usually 1 to 2 feet. Leave at least three outward-facing buds on each cane.

Step 5

Remove any suckers growing beneath the bud union on grafted roses. Use a trowel or your hands to dig to the point of the sucker's origin then tear it off. Pruning the suckers at the soil's surface will only encourage more to grow.

Step 6

Coat all pruning cuts with a thin layer of white glue (Elmer's Glue works fine) applied with your fingertip to prevent wood borer infestation.

Step 7

Dead head ever-blooming roses as soon as they fade. Cut the flower stem back to the nearest outward-facing bud, just above a five- or seven-leaflet leaf.

Step 8

Clear away all pruning debris immediately after you are done pruning.

Step 9

Water your roses so the top 2 to 3 feet of the soil is moist. Irrigate the rose's root zone slowly so the water has time to absorb.

Things You'll Need

  • Hook and blade pruning shears
  • Long-handled lopping shears
  • Fine-toothed curved pruning saws
  • White glue


  • University of Arizona: Rose Care in the Low Desert
  • Ohio State University: Fertilizing, Pruning and Winterizing Roses
  • Clemson University: Pruning Roses
Keywords: prune rose, rose Arizona, rose bushes

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.