How should I prune shrub roses?


How should I prune shrub roses?


While most shrub or landscape roses are winter-hardy in Iowa, there is still typically some branch die-back over winter.  Gardeners should prune out the dead wood just as the new buds are turning green and breaking in spring - typically early to mid- April. 

Prune Out Winter Damage First (if any)

Identifying live and dead wood is easy.  Live wood is green and has plump, healthy buds.  When pruned, the center of the stem (pith) is white.  Dead wood is brown and has no live buds.  It’s pith is brown or gray. 


When pruning roses, make the cuts at least 1 inch below the dead, brown-colored areas on the canes.  Make slanting cuts about 1/4 inch above healthy, outward-facing buds.  The slant being made in the same direction as the bud.  Remove the entire cane if there is no sign of life. 

Learn more about growing roses in this article: Growing Roses in Iowa.

Last updated on
June 30, 2023