Pruning Roses in North Carolina

Pruning roses in North Carolina can be tricky. During fall clean up we can get the urge to cut them back, but stop! Don’t cut your roses until after our first freeze. The reason we cut back our roses is to encourage them to grow. In the winter, we want them to “sleep” or become dormant.

When it is time to prune your roses how far to cut them back depends on you.  You can cut knock out roses as much as half their size. When pruning the rose bush make your cut near an outside bud at a 45-degree angle. New growth comes from the bud below this cut. In summer remove old flowers and prune just above a five or seven-leaf branch. This will encourage your bush to fill in and spread out. When you are cleaning up rose bushes always look for a few things.

  • Crossing Branches – Rose bushes like air, they don’t do well with dense foliage. Look for crossing branches and make small diagonal snips to prevent branches from crossing and rubbing.
  • Damaged Stems – If you happen to find any damaged stems make a diagonal cut just below the damaged stem. Removing damaged stems will allow the rose bushes to have new growth creating a stronger and healthier rose bush.
  • Disease – Watch for any fungus or insect problems on your roses. Black spot and Beatles are common problems for rose bushes If you happen to find black spot, cut it away from the plant, disinfect your pruners and throw the disease into a closed trash can.

Roses make a wonderful addition to our gardens but require a moderate amount of attention. Check out our other articles about caring for Roses to learn more.