How To Prune Roses in Winter - Backyard Boss
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How To Prune Roses in Winter

Roses are the world’s most elegant flowers and are a part of many gardens or landscapes, but they are sometimes known to be a bit finicky when it comes to pruning. However, pruning not only helps to shape and improve the appearance of your plants, but it also helps to encourage new growth.

When most people think of pruning, they think of the late summer when growth is dying down and there’s plenty of time to make corrections. However, shrub roses can be pruned late in the winter as long as you know what needs to be done. So, if your plants are looking a little scraggly and need some TLC, here’s everything you need to know about pruning shrub roses in winter.

What You’ll Need

gardening. cut flower of a withering rose variety Mary Rose against the background of a pruner. rose care concept.
Image credits: Michkasova Elena via Shutterstock

Here’s what you’ll need to prune your roses:

  • Gloves
  • Clean and sharp pruning shears
  • Bag for debris

Step-by-Step Guide to Pruning Your Shrub Roses in the Winter

Pruning roses in winter may seem like a daunting task, but with these simple steps, you’ll have your roses looking beautiful in no time!

Step One- Know When to Prune

gardener cutting back shoots and branches on a rose shrub to remove any dead or diseased growth and shape the plant
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Timing is everything when it comes to pruning your shrub roses. In the south, these plants can be trimmed in the late winter, typically mid-February. This is when growth is restarting. Wait until March to prune if you live in the northern US.

Step Two- Identify Your Rose Shrub

yellow rose bushes
Image credits: JamesDeMers via Pixabay

Not all rose bushes can be pruned in the winter, so identify the type you have before you cut it back. If you have roses in the Bourbon, China, or Portland groups or roses that produce more than one yield per season, pruning in late winter is the way to go.

These groups include Duchess of Portland and Reine Victoria rose cultivars.

Step Three- How Much to Trim

Pruning Rose Canes
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To prune your rose shrubs, cut back any new growth by up to one-third. This will help promote a more balanced shrub.

If you’re growing English roses, then you’ll need to prune back the preceding season’s growth by 30 to 50 percent.

If your plant is looking a little leggy, you can help it out by shortening any side shoots to two or three buds. This will encourage the plant to grow fuller and bushier, rather than continuing to put all its energy into one long stem.

Additionally, if you want your plants to bloom beautifully next summer, give them a light renewal pruning this winter. Cut back some of the older main stems to the base. This will encourage vigorous new growth that will lead to bountiful blooms next summer.

What You Can Do if Your Roses Haven’t Flowered

Shelter roses for the winter. Frost protection for garden plants. Autumn garden work. Gloved hands
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If you’ve had trouble getting your roses to bloom after winter care, don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to encourage new blooms.

First, roses need at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day in order to bloom. If they’re not getting enough light, they may not flower at all, or the flowers may be small and pale.

Second, fertilize regularly during the growing season (generally from April to September). Use a fertilizer designed specifically for roses and follow the directions on the package. Regular fertilization will help your plants grow strong and healthy, which will in turn promote better flowering.

Third, deadhead in the summer. Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers from the plant. This encourages the rose to produce new flowers, as opposed to putting all its energy into producing seed.

Fourth, winterize your roses. Which means mulching and covering your roses to protect them from the harsh winter elements. Additionally, don’t deadhead or fertilize in the winter, as this will encourage new growth.

Finally, roses should be watered deeply and regularly, especially during hot weather.

By following these tips, you should see an improvement in your rose’s flowering.

Possible Issues With Roses

Woman Spraying Roses
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If you’re a rose lover, then you know that these beautiful flowers can sometimes be susceptible to problems. Common issues include powdery mildew, black spot, replant disease, rose dieback, and rust. Pests like aphids, leaf-rolling sawflies, and large sawflies can also wreak havoc on your roses.

But don’t despair! There are things you can do to help prevent or treat these problems. For example, keep an eye out for early signs of pests and diseases, and act quickly to treat them. And most importantly, choose healthy plants from reputable sources to help reduce the chances of problems in the first place.

In Summary

So, if you have shrub roses that could use a little shaping up, go ahead and winter prune them. Just make sure you are aware of what to do so you don’t accidentally harm your plants. And share this article with your friends – they may need to know how to prune their roses too! Do you have any tips or tricks for pruning your roses in the winter? Leave a comment below!