How to Maintain a Rose Bush


Roses are vibrant and colorful perennial bushes that come in a variety of bloom colors. Maintaining your rose bushes is the key to keeping the plant vigorous and free of pests. Cutting back old and gnarled branches and deadheading old blooms will ensure that your plant lives a long and healthy life.

Step 1

Trim the rose bush after the leaves have fallen and after the first big frost of the season. Roses undergo a slight dormancy, which begins after the first frost.

Step 2

Remove all old and weak branches that are blocking essential sunlight to the healthy parts of the bush. Remove all dead branches and canes that rub against each other.

Step 3

Remove all suckers, or shoots found growing off the roots of the rose bush. Dig down to the base of the root and lift away the shoot where it emerges. Pruning them will only increase the number of suckers the following year, so make sure you remove the entire shoot.

Step 4

Cut all healthy branches down one-third of their length. Apply a coat of sealing compound to the open cut to prevent spreading disease and infection.

Step 5

Remove any green shoots that are less than the size of a pencil from the central stem of the rose bush to free up nutrients to the roots and central stem.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sealing compound
  • Methanol or wood alcohol


  • University of Ilinois Extension
Keywords: maintaining 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.