In my garden there some roses that are growing wild. Some of theme are at least two meters high with the flower only visible from down below.

Can I cut them in the summertime? Or is it best to prune them down late winter?

  • You have added the tag cuttings? Does that mean you want to create new plants (by taking cuttings)? Or might it be pruning you want to say?
    – Patrick B.
    Jun 22, 2012 at 5:31
  • Non-native speaker here. Yes I think I meant pruning. I don't want get rid of the roses, I just wanted to shorten (prune?) the branches, so that I get rose flowers not only at 2 meter and above.
    – oschrenk
    Jun 22, 2012 at 9:30
  • OK, thanks for clearing up. Let me ask anyway: have you thought of taking cuttings? It is extremely satisfying to try to multiply plants by taking cuttings. Especially from roses. I have never tried myself yet, but if you have long stems maybe you can try it. bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00kn0sn
    – Patrick B.
    Jun 22, 2012 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


I have an Explorer rose that is almost three meters tall. At one point in time I wanted to get rid of it and dug down to the roots. I used a spade, a saw and eventually, an axe. Despite removing roots as thick as my arm it was impossible to kill. Next year it put on the best flower show ever and I have since learned to love it... at a distance.

The books say prune after flowering is over. If your roses are vigorous you can do no harm by removing dead branches now. After flowering cut one third of the old thick stems off at the ground. Repeat every year and you will be practicing rejuvenation pruning.

I prune the Explorer rose year round. I must take off a bundle of cuttings every three months year round and it invigorates it.

Do not underestimate the pickiness of roses. Wear thick, thick gloves, eye protection, long sleeve shirt and pants.

The picture below is what roses with Rosa rugosa parents look like with continual pruning in a sunny site with lots of moisture.

Explorer Rose

  • 1
    +1 I have pruned roses at all times of the year. They seem to do fine in all cases. I am probably doing it all wrong but I have not found negative effects. I try to do most in the fall/early winter but I do find that I have to prune in summer and spring to beat back the growth.
    – Tim
    Jun 22, 2012 at 19:38

I gave my mother an Explorer Rose "John Cabot' for mother's day, 1993. She lived on the Northumberland coast of Nova Scotia. Even though Mom passed away in 2003, that rose is still going strong to this day ... she whacked off a little of the unruly or dead bits every once in awhile no matter the season and it just keeps on blooming head to toe ... it's about 5 to 6 ft tall and it spread about 12 feet across her deck on the southern side. She never had much water in the well in July and August, so she watered it with her dishwater every day! Amazing .... sorry I don't have a picture but every summer neighbours and especially tourists would turn into her driveway and ask what is the name of that rose and where did you get it? She loved all the attention that rose brought her. It was and still is a beauty. Don't worry about roses too much ... they're like true friends and usually love you no matter what you do to them!

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