Step 2. Take a look at the bud union, the knot at the base of the bush where the basal breaks are attached to. If this knot looks covered in dry or scaley wood, you’ll want to use your dull knife to scrape away that coating. Doing this encourages more basal breaks to emerge, improving the health and growth of your rose bush!
Step 3. Now you can start to really cut back! Go ahead and remove all the scrawny growth on your healthy canes. You’ll really want to focus on clearing out the middle of the bush as this will promote airflow which reduces infestations from insects and diseases.
Pro Tip: When you are making these little improvements to your climbing roses, pruning should be performed after they bloom in the spring!
Step 4. For this step, you will focus your pruning upon the healthy canes. As you do this, you’ll want to prune back to the dormant buds; this is because growing buds will not bloom as much, and the dormant buds will produce even more blooms.
When you are choosing where to make a cut on a cane, you’ll want to make each cut at a 45-degree angle a ¼ inch above the closer, outward-facing buds. The reason you want to choose outward-facing buds is that this will ensure the center of the rose bush is clear and all the buds remain on the outside. Additionally, when choosing where to make a cut on a cane, select an area that is roughly the width of a pencil. Although, this may be harder to achieve since you need to prune at a dormant bud so the width of the cane may not be exact.
Pro Tip: When removing old and larger canes from the bud union, be sure to seal these bigger cuts to avoid insects and disease infesting your rose bush!
Step 5. At this point, your pruning portion is completed! Go ahead and remove dead and old foliage. Spray a clean-up solution from a mixture of Funginex/Benomyl and Orthene/Diazinon, making sure to spray the whole bush, as well as the ground surrounding the bush.
By the time you are finished, your rose bush should be about 18 to 24 inches in height and have 4 to 8 canes.