Here is an article I wrote regarding pruning roses.
Although this was for a California Publication, this applies to Atlanta as well. I have been growing roses in Georgia for 17 years now and loving it. Valentine's Day and roses go together just like a horse and carriage. February 14 is usually the time to prune these beautiful bushes. Even though roses are one of those plants that are rejuvenated by proper pruning, it is necessary to wait if there are not any reddish leaf buds swelling on the canes. (Canes are the main branches of a rose bush.) In general, this occurs around the middle of February to early March in Metro Atlanta. No power tools here! The cuts should be very specific. First, find the three to five healthiest and best looking canes that are not growing into the center of the plant. It should be fine if there are only two acceptable ones. Prune out all the other canes down to the bud union. This is where the graft took place and looks kind of knobby. Any stems growing below this point are suckers and will zap the energy from where it needs to go. Prune these off as well. Now cut off any branches and stems that are growing towards the inside or criss-crossing each other. Remember, a rose, like many shrubs, needs a lot of air circulation in the inside as well as around it to avoid diseases and remain healthy. Here comes the tricky part of rose pruning, finding the optimum place to cut the main canes. Usually ...»