I live in northern Kentucky, zip code 41008. When can I cut my rose bush back?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Sally in Kentucky: The best time to prune your rose is during the late winter/early spring months before the new growth begins. During this time your rose will be dormant, which makes it less susceptible to winter injury and other potential problems. This is especially true if you are pruning to control the size. As a general rule, it is best not to remove more than one-third of the size of the rose at one time. If you need to drastically reduce the size of your rose, it is a good idea to take off one-third each year and then do this year after year to maintain the size you want. When it is time to prune be sure to use a clean, sharp, and rust-free pair of pruners. Make your cuts flush to the nearest intersecting branch so there are no stubs. If your reason for pruning is to remove dead/diseased or crossing canes, go ahead and get your pruners out now. Good sanitation practices are always important in terms of the health of our plants so be sure to clean up all plant debris after you prune. Leaving it provides a wonderful environment for insects/diseases to thrive.