Knockout Roses; Prune without fears and tears

Knockout Roses; Prune without fears and tears

Roses get a bad reputation for being hard to grow but the reality is that roses are tough and long-living. The Knockout rose is no exception, more like the rule. The Knockout rose receives high praise, especially in the south, for its large clusters of lightly fragrant blooms and is coming to be known as the best landscape rose in existence.  Its versatility adds to the appeal.  You can plant a Knockout rose in a container, mix it into a border with annuals and perennials, or use it as a hedge.  Proper pruning will help you maintain it for any of the aforementioned planted options.

Simple Steps to follow for pruning Knockout Roses

  1. Why?
    1. All flowering shrubs are revitalized by proper pruning practices. Pruning improves the health of the bush and the quality of the blooms to bring out their best in both appearance and performance.
  2. When?
    1. Prune a rose bush in early spring, not winter or fall, just as buds break dormancy. Only prune during the growing season to remove dead or diseased parts of the plant.  This is typically in late February to early March in the Aiken area.
  3. How?
    1. Determining how much to prune depends on how large you want the bush to be. Your rose bush will triple in size after pruning when it finishes growing for the season.  Prune the bush for height, width, and to make it more open in the center to increase air circulation and help prevent diseases. Whenever two canes cross each other, removed one to prevent rubbing and cut down on places for diseases to enter.  Aim to remove the third to half of old growth, and strive for a dome shape for each individual bush. Before you get too energetic with those pruners on your Knockout, remember you want your rose to pour its energy into making flowers instead of re-growing too much lost foliage.

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