Rule of Five: How to prune a Rose Tree

“I’m helping a lady who bought Full Sail Tree Rose.  I always deadhead roses back to a leaf of 5, so they will rebloom.
Looking at the Full Sail, which usually blooms in bunches of 3, if we deadhead to a leaf of 5, that is quiet a big cut.
I don’t have any hard feelings in taking the cut, but the garden owner wanted me to verify with you if that is correct with the Full Sail.  If we go to a leaf of 3-that is directly under the bloom but I don’t think she will get rebloom cutting there.
Please advise as soon as possible, as she will be out of town for 3 weeks, and I’m tending the gardens while she is gone.

Thank you so much,


Hi Emma,

Thank you for the email regarding pruning on your friend’s rose tree.  The general rule of thumb with trimming roses is the leaf of five rule.  However, depending on the age, size, and manner the tree has been cared for, it is not always possible to do this without cutting off too much.

In the event that a leaf of five leaflets cannot be found or cannot be used because there would be most of the tree cut off, then you can cut above any outward facing leaf.  The dormant buds always grow in the direction that the leaf below the cut is pointing.  Keep in mind that whenever you cut a rose bush or tree, especially when deadheading or taking roses for cut flowers, this is pruning.  And whenever you prune a rosebush, you want to direct the new growth in an outward direction.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.


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