By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Our warmer winter is nudging lots of plants to bud sooner. So, chores you normally do in mid-March might be done now – such as pruning roses, which I wait to do until spring buds start to show, as mine already were last week.

Approaching an overgrown rose bush can be a bit overwhelming, so consider doing it in two stages.

First, concentrate on cutting it down to size and clearing the clutter. Prune out crazy crossing canes and the old wood – the really thick grey, thorny stuff. On the next nice day, go out and take the time to make those more precise pruning cuts; each on an angle just above an outward-facing bud, which forces branches to grow away from the center of the plant allowing better air circulation to keep your roses healthy.

By pruning roses in two stages, you’ll make both parts of the job easier. When you go back the second time to make things pretty, you’ll see the plant with fresh eyes, and you’ll be able to reach to make proper pruning cuts without getting caught in such a thorny tangle.

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