The winter may be the best time to prune your roses to ensure healthy foliage and blooms for the coming year. Your rose should be dormant, preventing new, tender growth that would be damaged in the cold weather. Each type of rose is different and you should do some research on your particular type before pruning. I have 2 types that I pruned this past weekend and will share with you tips for pruning. In the above photo, you can see the roses in December. Those are the two that I pruned.
Gear: First off, you’ll want to make sure you have the right gear for this job. Roses are prickly and unfriendly to the bare skin. Long sleeve shirts and thick gloves should do the trick to protect you. You’ll need a sharp pair of pruners as well. I also found a saw helpful for the woodier canes that needed to be pruned. You could also use a lopper for the heavier canes. Also, you can use a bit of white / elmers glue to seal up the cuts in order to prevent cane borers.
Take a look at your rose and determine where it needs to be pruned.
Start at the bottom and make 45 degree cuts about 1/4″ above an outward facing bud. This is to ensure the growth goes out from the rose not inwards. Anything dead cut out (if you can’t tell, a dead cane is black/brown and brittle). Cut anything crossing each other/rubbing against each other. Also, prune anything smaller than a pencils diameter. You should leave around 5-6 healthy canes at whatever height you’re going for. Strip the plant of it’s leaves. Prune to allow air circulation and light throughout the middle – this helps prevent diseases in the rose. You also can prune to shape it how you like.
You may think it’s intimidating or scary to prune so much of your rose but, really, your rose will love you for it!
Pruning climbing roses also is beneficial and allows you to get it’s shape/growth how you like it.
Use zipties to loosely hold your climbing rose into place where you want it.
If you’re still intimidated, I recommend watching some videos/demonstrations to further guide you towards pruning your roses.