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Winter pruning is an extremely important part of excellent rose care. This mysterious annual practice is the source of huge amounts of anxiety and the folklore that goes with things we don’t understand. But it doesn’t have to be. Properly pruning your rose bushes is easy with the right information and a big shot of confidence.
1. Remove all secondary canes and spindly growth. When you are completed with pruning your roses should have only your strongest canes on the outside of the bush remaining. You can trim these canes down to 24 – 30 inches. We don’t suggest going any lower than this because you will likely have some winter die-back after you prune your roses and you want to have room left on the cane to remove it.
2. Remember the four D’s. When pruning your roses you want to remove Dead, Diseased, and Deformed canes. These canes will only sap energy from the plant as you go into spring and will not yield the gorgeous rose bushes you are looking for. What is the fourth D? Don’t cut your fingers!
3. Relax. Your rose garden should be a source of relaxation and enjoyment, even when you are working it. Don’t let pruning get you uptight. Remember that rose bushes are living plants and if you take too much off, it will grow back. If you don’t take enough off, that will not be the end of your rose bush either. Keep the canes intact well above the ground and have fun with it.
Winter pruning your roses is important for the overall health of your rose bushes. You need a good pair of gloves, some good sharp pruners and the confidence that you are ready to do this. Remember your roses are a source of enjoyment, relax and have fun.