I was wondering if I cut back my rose to 4 feet before or after frost?
Hi Chilli - I see you are in zone 6B, where about? I am in 6B also - East TN - I will trim out the dead or any overly long/tall branches that may get whipped around in the winter wind but other than that no real heavy pruning until after the forsythias bloom in Spring. Since it was 85 today here I suspect I will have blooms for a while longer... Michelle
I have a Fragrant Cloud bud that may open between now & mid-November. If it does I will clip it for the bud vase. Regardless of whether it does or not the new shoot from which it arises is coming completely off. Other than that I have no plans to do any pruning until the forsythia blooms next spring.
Pruning has a tendency to stimulate new growth and that's the last thing you want your roses to do now!
Cutting back to 4'-5' as you suggest is OK but not necessary. This is called "topping" and is supposed to reduce damage from wind or ice. If you are eastern or central 6b, it is way too early, as the roses may bloom into mid-November. The roses will stop growing with a frost of approximately 27 degrees or when the topsoil cools to 40 degrees. I usually top only the excessively long canes, but if heavy icing is forecast, I may run out and take the plants down some. Fall pruning wounds invite fungal invasion in my climate.
As Michelle and York say, rose people do the main pruning in early spring.
I'm up in Canada in 6B near Niagara falls. I will be getting frost soon.