Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Roses are plants, too!

What time of year should I prune my roses?

Spring is almost here and the Daffodils are blooming on our farm.
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses
Spring is almost here and the Daffodils are blooming on our farm.
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses

This is a question I get a lot from folks who live where there is a true winter with freezing temperatures.  Everyone seems confused as to when they should prune their roses.  Interestingly enough most seem to feel it should revolve around man-made calendar dates like October or January.  Some advocate pruning later, some sooner and some say just do it when you have time.

Here’s why the timing does matter.  Pruning too soon may stimulate tender new growth during a warm spell that could be killed later by a freeze.  Prune too late and you won’t get that great spring bloom.

So what is the best time to prune so you don’t get into trouble?

I have a real simple answer that has nothing to do with the calendar.

Prune when the Forsythia begins to bloom.

Period.

What I loved about this from the moment I heard it is that it’s nature is telling us when it’s time to prune.  You see, we don’t know if it’s going to be a long or short winter and no annual yanking of Punxsutawney Phil out of the comfort of his home is going to make us any wiser.

But the plants know.  If it’s a long winter they bloom later.  During a short winter they bloom sooner.  So keep an eye out for the Forsythia and when they start to bloom – start to prune.

Happy Roseing
Paul

View Comments

Comments

  1. viktoriamullin 02/28/2011

    This is the answer! Thank you so much, finally, this spring I will not be experimenting with the time to prune my roses; especially with my shrubs which are about 10-12 feet already.

  2. PFZimmerman 02/28/2011

    Glad it helped!

  3. HummingbirdGardensCa 02/28/2011

    This is great advice! This year I pruned half of my roses the "traditional" way and the other half I pruned lightly, removing no more than one-third. According to the author in this link, pruning by only one-third will increase the vigor of the rose bush and increase the number of rose blooms.
    Has anyone else tried it?

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/29/3360300/pruning-lightly-has-rewards-more.html#

  4. PFZimmerman 02/28/2011

    Excellent article. Keep in mind pruning "the traditional way" by cutting them down to 18" etc is designed to give you long stem blooms for exhibition. Also less blooms because you want the few you have to be large.

    I always keep my shrub roses around 3-5 feet when I prune for the exact reason you mention. I want maximum display.

    There is no one correct pruning method. As with most plants it has to do with the what the variety of rose is and how you want it to look in your garden!

  5. seil 03/05/2011

    I've been using this rule of thumb for years. A lot of people think it's an old wives tale but it makes perfect sense to me. No matter where you live the forsythia are not going to bloom until the soil temperature is warm enough to support active growth. A short warm spell won't bring it up enough to do that. But when it's been warming for a consistant and long enough time the soil will warm up enough for things to begin to grow and the forsythia will bloom. And that's when you can prune your roses!

    Always love your articles and advice, Paul, thanks!

  6. pwarrenbaton 03/06/2011

    My late mother always said that, too, and that's when we did it in the Philadelphia area. The forsythia are starting to bloom here and I just started pruning mine today, nine down, four to go--the deer have been pruning them for me all winter, of course. So I did hit all of them with DeerOff...Triangle Area, NC, zone 7B or 8, depending on who you trust (I lean toward zone 8 myself...sure different from growing roses in northern Vermont!)

  7. NWKansas 10/30/2011

    Kind of a stupid answer if there are no forsythia in the area.

  8. CarrieRose 02/16/2013

    Exactly what I was looking for... thank you!

  9. ClealmirlJali 07/02/2013

    すべてのハリウッド女優とさりげなく、それらを持ち運び有名人と、それは彼らがそんなに人気があるなら不思議ません。[url=http://www.vivienneoutletshop.com/]ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布[/url] ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド アウトレット 彼らは、大胆なファッションステートメントを作る、と女性は、[url=http://www.coachofftenpo.com/]コーチ アウトレット[/url] コーチ 財布 彼らは彼らの財布にラベルをデザインしてスポーツしているときに、[url=http://www.fassyoncoachja.com/]http://www.fassyoncoachja.com/[/url] コーチ アウトレット より自信を持って感じる傾向。

    デザイナーの財布を作成するときにのみ、最高品質の素材と最高の出来映えが使用されます。[url=http://www.oakleybuyingjap.com/]http://www.oakleybuyingjap.com/[/url] オークリー サングラス [url=http://www.coachse-rushoppu.com/]コーチ メンズ[/url] コーチ バッグ なぜなら上質な素材と、これらのハンドバッグのいずれかの生産に関与しているスキルのために、それは彼らが平均的な消費者のためにあまりにも高価だということを発見することは驚くことではありません。

    あなたがデザイナーハンドバッグはあなたの予算に合うことができると判断した場合は、買い物をしているときに、注意してください。[url=http://www.tendenceuotti.com/]テンデンス 芸能人[/url] テンデンス 時計 [url=http://www.katespadesuki.com/]ケイトスペード 財布 新作[/url] ケイトスペード アウトレット 本物のようにノックをオフにしようとオフを通過し、そこに悪徳ベンダーがたくさんあります。[url=http://www.lacoachjp.com/]コーチ バッグ 2013[/url] コーチ バッグ 2013 それはあなたが莫大な額の金を支払う前にあなたが買っている財布が本物であることを保証していることが重要です。[url=http://www.ninkikatespadeya.com/]ケイトスペード アウトレット[/url] ケイトスペード バッグ あなたの最高の保険はよく知られている店やデザイナーアウトレット自体のみで買い物することです。
    http://community.kinmen.org.tw/qionglin/modules/newbb/newtopic.php?forum=7%5DH108+Result:+chosen+nicknam++e+&DyncAccut&+captcha+recognized;+succe++ss;+BB-code+not+working;http://tv.lm.konin.pl/forum/posting.php?mode=newtopic&f=23http://autoweb.nfu.edu.tw/modules/newbb/newtopic.php?forum=2http://xgo.crashproductionz.com/index.php?action=posttopic=212634.0;num_replies=0++http://www.mengjijin.com/viewthread.php?tid=2901&extra=http://www.quangcao.edu.vn/threads/10614-Vorenglade/?p=77178&posted=1http://www.theshiningforce.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=37457&p=67574 Result: SERVER ERROR (host autoweb.nfu.edu.tw,host forums.metrofortress.com) GET-timeouts 1; chosen nickname "inicicapyn"; ReCaptcha decoded; (JS); registered (100%); profile edited; logged in; nofollow is found; success (from first page); BB-code not working; (reply to topic);
    http://blog.delphix.com/uday/2013/02/19/78/#comment-2642 Result: chosen nickname "slessyset"; success (from first page); message must go through moderation;
    http://underbaraadhd.com/vad-ar-adhd/ Result: chosen nickname "sherBeari"; success;
    http://worldmusicdays2014.org/?p=118#comment-8936 Result: chosen nickname "gogemping"; success (from first page); message must go through moderation;
    http://mesothelioma-lawsuit-advice.com/#comment-51 Result: chosen nickname "Jawsootte"; success (from first page); message must go through moderation;

  10. toriwalsh 06/08/2017

    What is forsythia 🤔?? I'm in the UK and also have black spot 😭 it's June can I prune it back to save it?

    1. jasonrekker 10/07/2017

      Yes definitely. In general stop pruning woodies such as roses about 8 weeks before first frost so that any new growth has a chance to lignify or "harden off" before freezing.

  11. whoiskevinjones 09/15/2017

    Best feedback ever!! Sounds like advice I will remember always.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 37%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."

Video

View All