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When to Prune Roses

When should I cut back my roses? I live in zone 4.

As the temperatures begin hovering at or just above freezing you can remove winter protection and start pruning roses.  Remove older, damaged or disease canes on shrub roses.  Only prune out winter damaged tips of the remaining stems or shorten stems to control the overall plant size.   Climbing roses bloom only or best on old wood.  Remove old, dead and diseased canes to ground level.  Wait until after the first flush of bloom to do any additional pruning.  Hybrid tea roses need a bit more pruning.  Remove any winter damaged canes.  Healthy canes have a white center while dead ones are brown.  Prune dead canes at least one inch below dead tissue, back to a healthy branch or above a healthy outward facing bud.  Remove any spindly stems, weak growth and crossing branches.  In cold areas hybrid tea roses usually end up about 16 to 18 inches tall with 5 or 6 healthy stems.  


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