I got out the mower and cut down the monkey grass, cut down a pitiful looking conifer and transplanted a virburnum in it's place and pruned, pruned, pruned. This is a good time to prune roses. I usually tell people to prune when the forsythia starts to bloom. I haven't seen it blooming yet but mid-February through mid-March is a good time to prune.
Since I grow mainly old roses, pruning is usually minimal. However, this year I decided to be a tad more aggressive with some of our roses.
Here are a few tips:
This is a shrub rose ("Carefree Wonder") that is very spindly and has several dead canes. First, you want to cut out all of the dead canes completely.
Take a look at the healthy canes and you should be growth buds coming out along the sides. You want to select an outward facing bud and make a diagonal cut just above this bud. Make the cut so that it slopes away from the bud.
You can cut down as far as you'd like. Hybrid tea roses are usually cut back dramatically, within 1 foot from the ground. Shrub roses, like floribundas are not cut as severely and may only require removing dead branches and light tip pruning. You want to cut the canes back to the healthiest looking area so if you see diseased stems or oddly colored stems, cut it off. Once you make a cut, inspect the cut, the cane should be clean and full on the inside. If you see holes inside the cane, keep cutting down until you no longer find that.
We have a lot of larger shrub roses and climbing roses and the only pruning I do to these is remove dead canes and lightly prune branches back to healthy growth.
When pruning roses, always dip your pruning shears in a solution of bleach and water to avoid transferring diseases from one plant to another.