How to Trim a Rose Bush


Rose bushes are stunning and colorful perennial plants with show-stopping abilities. Planting rose bushes in your garden will create a striking focal point to your outdoor landscape. Trimming your rose bushes is essential to keeping your plant healthy and hardy. When cutting back old and weak branches, you release nutrients to the healthy area of the plant like the roots and central stem. Trimming your rose will ensure a long living and vigorous rose bush.

Step 1

Trim the rose bush after the first frost and when all the leaves and foliage have dropped off. Roses undergo a slight dormancy period, which begins after the first frost.

Step 2

Cut back all old and gnarled branches that are blocking needed sunlight to the rest of the bush. Remove all dead branches and stems that rub against each other.

Step 3

Cut away all sucker shoots, or stems that are found growing from the root of the rose bush. Dig down to the base of the root and gently pull away the shoots.

Step 4

Prune one-quarter to one-half inch above the leaf buds. Cut all healthy stems back one-third of their length. Apply sealing compound to open wounds to prevent infection and disease.

Step 5

Remove all green saplings shooting from the main stem of the rose bush to free up nutrients to the roots and central rose bush stem.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sealing compound


  • University of Illinois Extension

Who Can Help

  • Growing Roses: Farmer's Alamanc
Keywords: trimming roses, pruning rose bushes, cutting roses

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.