Harrison (
Credit: Harrison (

You will want to finish pruning your roses before this coming weekend so that they can rest for a couple of weeks before our early spring tells them to start growing!

Follow these steps for a healthy spring bloom. The same instructions apply for all hybrid tea and floribunda roses.

  • Use bypass pruners that work similar to scissors. Anvil-type pruners will crush your rose stems.
  • Remove the top third to two-thirds of the rose bush.
  • Remove any dead canes and small twiggy growth.
  • Remove any canes that are crossing through the middle of the bush or rubbing against other canes.
  • Make your cuts about quarter-inch above a bud eye that is facing out from the center of the bush. (See the diagram to the right.)
  • Strip all leaves from the canes.

Clean Up: Remove all the old mulch and dead leaves, and throw them in the trash, not your compost pile. Dead leaves can have mildew spores and other diseases on them that can infest your compost pile and create problems.

Maintenance: Apply both a pesticide and a fungicide to your pruned roses and the ground around the plants. Fungus spores such as mildew can live through the winter in your soil. Seal pruned canes larger than a pencil with carpenter’s glue (it’s waterproof) to protect against cane-borers.

Water and Feed: Apply long-term or organic fertilizer, such as Rose Food or homemade compost. Add superphosphate and scratch it into the soil and water in. Continue to water your roses deeply every four days.

Marylee is the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions at