Ask Burton: This week, we’re answering a question about one of the most beautiful plants in the landscape. Q: I planted roses in my landscape last year, two Knockout roses and a climbing Don Juan. It’s February – should I cut these roses back now? And how?

A: Roses need pruning to remain tidy and well-shaped, but your two types of roses should be treated differently.

Most roses like to be pruned in February in North Texas. Valentine’s Day is an excellent reminder – prune your roses around the time you’re thinking of giving them! Hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, and shrub roses should be pruned back to eighteen to twenty-four inches tall, leaving four to eight healthy looking canes that are well spread out. Prune out tangled, cracked, and scaly, dead-looking canes in this process. The object is an open form that gives the remaining canes good airflow. Each cane should be cut back at a slight angle, just above an outward facing bud.

Climbing roses need to be treated differently. Train young, flexible canes as needed along your supporting structure, and otherwise leave them alone until after these roses have their big show in the spring. Climbing roses bloom on the previous year’s canes, so cutting them back in February would reduce the plant’s show this year. Once their heavy bloom is done, prune as needed to remove dead canes, weak canes, or canes growing in unwanted directions.