Q. Can I prune my roses in fall?
Fall is not a season that most rosarians associate with pruning roses. Once the roses have gone dormant, it is usually common practice to wait until spring and see what survives the winter season. But a few timely cuts in the fall will help some roses overwinter with far less damage. In fall, prune after the first real cold snap, when the rose bushes have shed their leaves and gone totally dormant. Pruning any earlier might stimulate a late burst of growth that would not harden off before the cold weather of the Northeast sets in. But once the roses are really dormant, then shorten the canes of the taller modern roses--hybrid teas, floribundas, and grandifloras--to 3 feet. Some of these roses will send out canes 6 feet long in a single season, and if these are left uncut, a wet snow or an ice storm may pack on so much extra weight that the longer canes could snap. Even the canes of hybrid teas could tear off at the graft, causing death of the plant.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service