How do I prune roses?

Tools needed:

  • bypass pruning shears
  • long-handled bypass loppers
  • fine-toothed curved saw
  • long gloves
  • non-toxic, non-petroleum-based white glue
  • disinfectant (isopropyl alcohol, Lysol spray, 20% bleach-to-water solution)


  1. Remove dead, damaged, blackened or crossing canes.
  2. Depending on the type of rose you have, prune to height and desired number of canes as follows:
  3. For hybrid teas or grandifloras, leave five to six of the strongest canes 20 to 30 inches long. Remove only canes three years old or older. Make a 45-degree angle cut one-quarter inch above a bud.
  4. Floribundas are pruned to a shorter height leaving more canes.
  5. Train and prune climbers to a horizontal pattern for greater flower production, removing any skyward pointing shoots.
  6. Cut out any suckers.


  • If you are new to Nevada, you should know that we prune our roses less severely than you might’ve done in other climates. This is because of the risk of late freezes and the effects of our drying winds and extreme sun exposure.
  • To reduce the spread of disease,
  • sterilize tools between each cut.
  • seal any cut one-quarter of an inch or larger with white glue.
  • avoid composting rose cuttings.

For more information about rose pruning, read University of Nevada Cooperative ExtensionCarson City/Storey County Extension Educator JoAnne Skelly’s article “Pruning Roses.”