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Mississippi State Extension Service offers advise on how to prun roses.
Pruning your rose bushes is a late winter (January-early March) chore you shouldn’t overlook! Pruning helps shape the bush, remove dead canes, open the center for air flow, and stimulate new growth.
You’ll need three tools: sharp pruners (never use anvil pruners), loppers, and thick, heavy gloves. Don’t neglect the gloves! You’ll be glad you had them when handling thorny stems.
Keep in mind that most roses bloom on new wood. When making cuts, try following a line around the entire plant. If there are already new buds on the canes, make your cuts above buds pointing away from the center of the rose. Make your cuts at a downward 45-degree angle.
You’ll want to remove any dead or damaged canes. These cuts can be made close to the base of the plant.
You will also need to remove any canes cluttering the inside of the bush. Canes that are growing horizontal or are crossing other canes need to be removed. Opening up the middle of the bush promotes air circulation and reduces the risk of disease.
When you finish pruning, discard your clippings and old leaf litter from around the base of the plant as diseases and pests can over winter in the litter. You can also put mulch or straw around the base of the plant if desired.
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