Roses require some special care, and pruning is one of the principal points in rose maintenance. All roses need some type of pruning; for example, removing diseased or dead canes. This can be done at any time during the year. If they are not pruned for a number of years, the plants deteriorate in appearance, and flowers become smaller and smaller.
The traditional heavy pruning, appropriate for Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, and Grandifloras, is usually done around Valentine’s Day or early March. If the bushes are pruned too early, injury from a late frost may make a second pruning necessary.
Make cuts at a 45 degree angle above a strong outer bud. Aim the cut upward from the inner side of the bush to push growth outward and promote healthy shoots and quality flowers. The average pruning height is between 18″ to 24″.
Other types of roses require less severe pruning. With miniature roses, for example, simply cut out dead and diseased growth and remove the hips. Cut diseased stems back to healthy tissue at least one inch below the damaged area. This general guide works for all types of roses.
Old fashioned rambling roses and spring-blooming climbers produce best on one-year-old wood, and they should not be pruned until after they flower. Ever-blooming roses, which bloom continuously throughout the growing season, should be pruned in autumn before cold weather begins. As a general rule of thumb, cut out dead and diseased canes, and shorten side shoots three to six inches after flowering. If the plant is strong, keep five to eight main canes.
Javier Vargas, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service