Pruning roses is essential for their overall health, vitality and appearance. Late winter to early spring is the key rose pruning time to cut back most varieties, except rambling roses, which are pruned in summer immediately after flowering.
Bush roses including floribundas and hybrid teas flower on the current season’s wood so they should be pruned hard each spring, down to about 1/2 or 2/3rds of the plant’s height, cutting just above an outward facing bud, removing all weak, damaged or crossing stems first and then pruning the remaining stems to form an open bowl of stubby branches.
Shrub roses need very little pruning, and a once over with a hedge cutter has proven to be effective. Remove any long growth and damaged or crossing over stems.
Climbers tend to have large, single flowers from summer into autumn, and should be pruned in autumn or winter to try and maintain a framework of long stems with side branches which will carry the flowers on the new growth.
Ideally a third of the plant is removed each year – the oldest, woodiest stems, so that it is constantly renewing itself.
Ramblers have clusters of smaller flowers just once in the summer and need little pruning, just a trimmed and trained immediately after flowering.