How to Properly Trim Rose Bushes


Roses are a staple plant in creating stunning gardens in your back yard or along a walkway or fence line. Cluster them together to create a rose garden and focal point to your outdoor landscape. Keep the colorful blooms vibrant and hardy by pruning once a year. Trimming back old branches and removing diseased limbs will ensure a long-lasting bush. During the blooming season, periodically deadhead--pull off old blooms--to free up nutrients to the rest of the plant.

Step 1

Wait until spring to do your pruning; this allows light and air to penetrate the growing plant.

Step 2

Remove all debris such as leaves, weeds and fallen branches around the plant base to keep insects and disease away from the plant.

Step 3

Cut off all dead stems and branches that are diseased and damaged; remove the entire branch. Cut off all old and twisted branches.

Step 4

Prune any weak or thin branches to release the nutrients to the main stem and allow more light to pass through. Remove all branches that rub together or crisscross over one another.

Step 5

Remove any green saplings that grow off the main growth area. Cut away all suckers, or shoots that sprout up from the root base.

Step 6

Prune back the remaining stems to one-third their length. Make a 45-degree angle cut using sharp pruning shears to prevent ragged cuts. Paint all cuts with a sealing compound to prevent diseases and insects from infecting and damaging the roses.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear gardening gloves when using pruning shears to prevent potential injuries.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sealing compound


  • University of Illinois Extension

Who Can Help

  • My Home Ideas
Keywords: roses, pruning, trimming back

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.