How to Trim Rose Trees


Rose plants enhance and beautify landscapes in yards and parks with their fragrant, delicate blossoms. One type of rose plant, known as a standard rose or a rose tree, produces numerous blossoms on top of tall canes that resemble the trunks of small trees. Not an actual tree, grafting techniques produce this unique type of rose plant. Like many other varieties of roses, rose trees require trimming and pruning to keep them healthy and looking their best.

Step 1

Inspect your tree rose before planting it in your soil. Trim off any damaged portions of the plant, including broken leaves, buds and canes. Carefully remove the root ball from the pot and check the roots. Trim away any overgrown roots that poke upwards, above the surface of the soil. Cut through any long roots that twist around the outside of the root ball, encasing the entire ball. These binding roots can limit the natural expansion of healthy roots beneath the soil.

Step 2

Prune your rose tree in the late winter or early spring, before new growth appears on your rose tree. Since blossoms form on new spring growth, removing the prior year's growth will not deter the appearance of flowers during the active growing season. Use sharp shears to trim off rogue stems that grow beyond the circumference of the canopy. Thin out your tree rose by snipping out small canes that twist around one another and ones that appear crowded.

Step 3

Stand back and examine the overall shape of your rose tree to determine areas that require shaping. Keep the top of your rose plant rounded to encourage this grafted plant to resemble the shape of a tree. Cut no more than one-third of the length of the canes and stems during your pruning session.

Step 4

Trim diseased growth that appears on your rose tree as soon as you notice its presence. Roses, like many types of ornamental plants, can sustain damage from fungal, viral and bacterial infections. Pests that damage vegetation may appear in sections of your rose tree. Watch for discolored leaves, brown or black growths on stems and small holes in the foliage of your roses. These signs can signal the presence of disease. Prune off infected growth with a pair of sharp pruning shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Household bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket


  • Maryland Geological Survey: Rose Standards
  • Apuldram Roses: Planting and Pruning
  • "Botanica's Gardening Encyclopedia"; Susan Page; 2001
Keywords: prune rose tree, trim rose tree, shape tree roses

About this Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear in Modern Mom, Biz Mojo, Walden University and GardenGuides. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.