Cutting back rose bushes promotes new growth and reduces the risk for fungal diseases. Here’s what you should know.

Most types of rose plants should be cut back in the spring after the last hard frost but before the leaf buds bloom. The ideal time to prune roses depends on where you live, but it generally falls between mid-March and the end of May.

Be sure to wear thick gardening gloves and a heavy long-sleeve shirt to protect yourself from thorns. Using a clean, sharp bypass pruner or lopper, remove:
• Dead, damaged, and diseased branches at the base or a healthy spot on the stem
• Branches that cross or create too much congestion in the middle of the plant
• Suckers growing around the base and any branches that are thinner than a pencil

You can also cut back healthy branches to give the plant a more appealing shape. Just remember to make cuts at a 45-degree angle so water doesn’t pool on the stem.