The Anatomy of a Bare Root Rose

Rose Pruning Guidelines

These pruning guidelines can be used for yearly pruning of dormant, planted rose bushes. Here are some guidelines and things to look for as you prepare to prune your roses.

Weak Canes: Weak canes should be removed cleanly at planting time and yearly thereafter. Be sure to remove the cane at its point of origin.

Redundant Canes: Canes that grow adjacent or parallel to hefty canes should be removed.
Bud Union: The point from which new canes (basal breaks) will emerge. Generally planted above soil level in temperate climates, the bud union may be vulnerable in cold climates if it is not planted below soil level and protected with mulch.
Cross-over Canes: Canes that cross-over other canes or grow towards the center of the plant should be removed. Doing so will increase air circulation to the center of the plant improving overall plant health.

Bud eye: A bud eye lies near every point where a leaf is attached to a cane. Other than basal breaks emerging directly from the bud union, bud eyes are the only points from which a new cane will grow. Pruning canes at a 45° angle just above a bud eye will encourage new growth to start more swiftly. The bud eye should also be facing out or away from the center of the bush.

Shank: The portion of the original rootstock into which the bud was placed.

Sucker: Spontaneous canes emerging from below the bud union are suckers from the roots and should be removed. The soil may need to be dug away from the shank so that the sucker can be removed cleanly its base.
Anchor Roots: A heavier root system is generally found on budded plants as most are field-grown. However, the size of the root system is determined by the age of the plant and the density of the soil in which it was grown and not by the means of propagation. Budded plants grown in containers will develop a fiberous root system. Likewise, own-root plants grown in the ground will develop strong anchor roots to penetrate the dense soil.

Arena Roses of Paso Robles, California, has graciously permitted us to reprint portions of this information from their catalog. Copyright 2000 Arena Rose Company.