Determining the best time to prune roses will depend on where you live (USDA Hardiness Zone) and the type of rose bush. The basic pruning process is the same for all varieties, but the time to prune is specific to type of rose.
Let’s look at roses in three categories: once blooming; repeat blooming; and climbing. Once blooming roses should be pruned in summer after flowers have dropped. Repeat blooming roses should be pruned in spring when leaf buds begin to swell and turn reddish in color. Climbing roses should be pruned when growing out of control or to maintain a particular shape.
Most pruning will be done in the spring as the majority of roses are repeat bloomers. Before you begin the pruning process you will need sharp bypass pruners and loppers along with a pair of thick gloves, long sleeves and safety glasses. The thorns can be damaging to skin and eyes, so make sure you keep these areas protected.
Pruning should be performed annually. During pruning it is important to remove any broken and dead branches or branches thinner than a pencil. To shorten healthy branches make 45 degree angle cuts above a bud at the desired length you are seeking. Make sure your cuts are clean and not rugged.
If you are still hesitant to prune, keep in mind that most mistakes will grow out quickly and it is difficult to kill a rose with improper pruning.
If you questions that were not addressed here, please contact Brian Jones with Scenic Green and he will gladly answer your questions.