Question: Can you please share tips on pruning AND transplanting? Which should we do first? We have inherited an overgrown rose bush that hasn’t been tended to for at least 6 years, AND we have NO gardening experience. I know that it is still living, but I dont even know what would be considered killed wood or weak, let alone “crossing” wood! We are in a temperate area, mid-Delaware, so were coming up on time to prune, but I dont know how far is safe to cut it back; I sure would like to handle this grand lady with well-deserved kid-glove treatment.
Answer: You can prune this rose to an inch of its life and it will come back. Pruning should be done prior to transplanting, for two reasons. First, you are going to lose a lot of root system when you transplant; so, by pruning, you will be balancing the roots and top. Second, the transplanting will be less of a bloody affair if you prune the rose first. To be on the safe side, prune off ¼ to ⅓ of the top. Once it leafs out, remove any dead growth you missed.
–Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire