You might have been tempted to prune your roses when we had a recent bout of warm weather, but hopefully you held off. The best time to prune roses in Colorado, especially at higher altitudes is mid-May (or later if you can stand to wait for frosts to end).
The best time for the first pruning of roses is generally Mother's Day — after the plant has broken dormancy and after the final spring frost. Pruning stimulates new growth. If pruned too early then tender growth risks being damaged during spring frost and freezes.
- start with very sharp, clean pruning shears
- remove any canes that are orienting/curving inward - you want open and air circulation
- cut canes at a slight slant - not too much because the more surface area you expose, the longer it takes to heal
- make your cut right above a new bud
- remove any canes smaller than the thickness of a pencil
- prune back any canes that are crossing over or rubbing against other canes - these can cause wounds and infection
- remove dead brown woody canes/growth
- add a little fresh compost around the base, but not right up against the plant