Master these simple rules and your spring rose growth will be guaranteed to produce a pleasing shape and habit for the rest of the season.
1. Make your pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a leaf axle with a dormant eye.
2. Choose an eye on the outside of the cane and slope the cut down and away on the opposite side. This allows excess natural sap to rise and seal the cut without interfering with the developing eye. Pruning to an outward-facing bud also promotes outward growth, opens up the plant to air circulation, creates more pleasing shapes, resists disease, and prevents the canes from becoming a tangle. Cuts closer to the eye than 1/4 inch may damage it. Cuts higher than that will leave a visible stubble -- a haven for both pests and disease.
3. If the rose bush has foliage present, the location for your cut is easy to spot. Where there is no foliage to guide you, find the dormant eye by locating where the foliage was once connected. The eye is normally visible as a slight swelling above the surface of the cane.
4. Use this same pruning technique when cutting stems for display and when removing spent blooms. Remember to sharpen your pruning tools periodically -- either do it yourself or have someone do it who's specially trained.
5. Wipe metal surfaces after each use with a soft, lightly oiled rag to prevent rust. Store tools in a dry area.