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How to Prune Shrub Roses

Photo: Michelle Gervais

Shrub Roses (Rosa spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Shrub roses (basically any roses exclusive of climbers, hybrid teas, and carpet roses) can get quite large if not pruned hard every three to five years. Members of the Knock Out® series have been particularly popular with every level of gardener in recent years due to their nearly constant blooms. All shrub roses are pretty simple to prune—as long as you avoid their thorns.

When to prune: Early to mid-spring as soon you see the little red buds swell.

How to prune: I use short-handled loppers for this task. The idea is to get down deep into the plant and cut out any secondary branches bigger than your thumb. Prune back to a set of buds that run parallel to the ground (one “eye” pointing up, the other down) and at least 3 to 4 inches from the main trunk. Rub any…

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