Roses should be pruned in late February or early March in the Portland, Oregon area. Weak canes should be removed, excess canes cut out, height reduced, and cut to outside facing buds.

When to do final pruning

Here we are talking about pruning just before the growing season begins. Late last fall hybrid teas, floribundas, and shrub type roses should have been cut back so winter winds would not whip them back and forth so as to loosen their roots. Now we must prune the roses in preparation for the growing season.

A few key aspects regarding when to prune:

  • After the cold weather ends. Otherwise, the remaining canes can be damaged
  • Before new growth comes out in earnest
  • If very cold weather comes after a big push of new growth, the rose could die

Traditionally roses, specifically hybrid tea roses, have been pruned by President’s day in February. However, some two decades ago we had a late freeze that killed maybe a third of the roses in Portland. Major ouch! Consequently, we as a company have moved our pruning date for roses back a little into early March.

What to expect

  • Healthy roses quickly grow into a thicket of canes. The smallest and weakest canes will be removed during pruning.
  • About 4 – 6 of the strongest canes should remain when completed, more or less, depending on objectives.
  • The remaining selected canes should ideally face outward if possible.
  • Cuts should be made to outward facing buds.
  • Canes could be cut to perhaps 18″ tall.


Above we have described a typical scenario. Rose aficionados will definitely have there own ideas. For example:

  • Fewer canes cut lower favor fewer roses by larger ones.
  • More canes left taller brings more flowers but smaller one—ideal for a landscape plant.

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