It’s time to think about pruning roses. When the Forsythia blooms in your neighborhood, put on your gloves and get to work. Roses need to be pruned. It encourages new growth, more flowers and gets rid of the dead and diseased canes. It will open up the plant to allow better air circulation and that makes for a healthier plant.

Thick gloves are essential, as are a pair of sharp bypass pruners, which have two cutting edges. Anvil pruners have one flat side and crush stems. Disinfect your pruners. Use one part regular household bleach to nine parts of water. Dip your pruners into this bleach solution between pruning cuts if you have diseased canes, but especially before moving between plants. Use something like WD40 or a cooking oil spray on your pruners when you’re finished. The bleach is hard on the metal cutting blades and they’ll benefit from being oiled.