When the Forsythia Bloom, Prune Roses for More Blooms

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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour



Pruning may seem tricky, but it’s not. And it’s definitely worth the effort. Pruned roses produce almost twice as many flowers as those that don’t get pruned.

Don’t worry about making mistakes. It’s hard to kill a rose with bad pruning. Prune less in the beginning. You can always go back and cut more, and most goofs grow back just fine. But it’s a good idea to first know why you are pruning – to shape the plant, thin it out, or get rid of dead branches.


  1. Wear rose gloves to protect your hands. Start from the bottom of the bush and work your way up.
  2. Use long-handled loppers to prune thick canes. Remove any dead, black, shriveled, diseased or broken wood.
  3. Prune hybrid tea roses to leave 3 to 5 strong, healthy canes, each 6”-8” long. Prune floribundas to leave 8 to 10 strong, healthy canes, each 8”-12” long. Make the cuts on an angle, about ¼” above buds that face away from the center of the bush.
  4. Use bypass pruners for canes that are about as big around as a pencil. Remove twigs or branches that cross or rub against each other. 
  5. Cut off any suckers, the stems that sprout from the roots. You may have to remove some soil to get to them. 


Shrub roses, like ‘Knock Out’ roses, can be pruned with electric hedge trimmers. Just remove about 1/3 of the growth, and you’re done!


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