Q: When is a good time to cut back our rose bushes ó now or after the first hard frost?

ó Chris Partis, Akron

A: Neither. The best time to prune rose bushes is early spring, before new growth starts, said Peter Schneider, a Portage County rose collector who wrote the book Right Rose, Right Place. You donít want to prune in fall, because pruning encourages the plant to push out new growth that would be vulnerable to the cold. The only exception is once-blooming roses, which should be pruned immediately after they finish blooming, Schneider said.

Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.