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Is it OK to cut back roses in the fall?

Posted by on September 20th 2012

Rosa 'Champlain'

The Question:

My roses are bloomed out and just kinda messy. Is it too early to cut them back aggressively for winter?

—Guy

Our Answer:

Hi, Ugly as they may be after a long, hot, dry summer we don’t recommend cutting down your roses early, Hybryd Teas or otherwise. Here in Minnesota, Zone 3/4/5, the advice for our most prevalent rose, the Modern Shrub Rose is to wait to prune until spring: This group of sturdy roses are repeat bloomers, blooming on mature, but not old, woody stems. Leave them unpruned to increase vigor for the first 2 years and then use the “one-third” method. Each year remove one-third of the oldest canes (in addition to any dead, diseased or dying canes).

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