Severe pruning of everblooming roses produces fewer but larger flowers. This method renews old and overgrown rose bushes and is appropriate for newly transplanted bushes. Cut three to six canes to about 15 cm (6 in.) in height and cut the other canes to the ground.
This is the standard method of pruning for established specimens of everblooming hybrid tea roses and floribunda roses; it usually produces a large crop of good quality flowers. Cut back the strongest canes to half their height; trim back less vigorous canes by only a third.
Light pruning helps rose bushes facing difficult growing conditions, such as poor sandy soil or heavily polluted air. Cut back all canes by a quarter. This method suits old-fashioned, once-blooming roses and the most vigorous of the modern everbloomers, such as 'Queen Elizabeth' and 'Swarthmore'.
The right pruning tools. For the cleanest, least traumatic cuts on rose canes, use a sharp pair of bypass, or scissors-type, pruning shears; anvil-type shears can do damage. To prune the largest canes on your bushes, use long-handled lopping shears.
Timing. Modern everblooming roses, such as hybrid teas and floribundas, are pruned to best effect in early spring, just as the leaf buds swell. Roses that flower once a year should be pruned just after blooming.
Prune everbloomers by removing any dead or damaged canes. Then take out any canes that grow in toward the center of the bush and any that cross and rub each other. Cut off the suckers that sprout from below the graft union. Choose three to six of the strongest canes to keep, and cut all the other canes off at ground level. Then trim the remaining canes to the desired height.
Prune once-blooming roses as you would any flowering shrub to create an open, balanced framework of sturdy branches. To keep the growth compact, cut back each cane by a quarter.
Keep it clean. Rake up pruned clippings and dispose of them, since they may harbor disease spores or insect eggs and larvae. For the same reason, rake up and dispose of fallen rose leaves in autumn.
A ROSE SAMPLER
Modern roses are hybrids that combine the winter hardiness of wild northern species with the lush everblooming habits of their southern relatives. Hybrid tea roses produce large individual flowers; floribundas bear blossoms in clusters. Climbing roses, despite the name, need to be tied to a support.
HYBRID TEA ROSES