Pruning roses never looks easy, unforgiving thorns and unruly stalks can be a nightmare for the novice. Cutting away the wrong branch or pruning too much has killed many a gardener’s precious beauties. However, with Knock Out Roses, the hours of meticulous cuts comes to an end. Forgiving in nature the Knock Outs are sturdy enough to withstand heavy pruning. Typically they can survive even the worst of snips and still produce blooms that every gardener strives to make. You’ll be a pro without the years of pruning practice.
Ready to look like an expert?
Here’s what you need:
• Bypass pruners
• Rose gloves with long cuffs
• Lysol or bleach (to sterilize the pruners)
If you just planted your Knock Out Roses, congratulations! You can neglect the bush for one to two years. Most experts say to wait until the second or third growing season before pruning. This ensures the plant will be mature before cutting commences. Typically, your rose bush is an adult when the plant is four feet high and four feet wide.
After that, your first foray into pruning will begin in the early spring. A great time to start is when the yellow forsythias are in bloom. Also, if the buds are swelling, but there is no new growth, then you need to find your pruning shears.
Dip your pruners in a household cleaner to ensure that disease doesn’t pay a visit. Make each cut at a 45 degree angle. Cut healthy shoots back by a third to a half. Anything more can stunt the roses. Also, cut out interior growth to provide ideal air circulation and keep diseases away, plus creates an ascetic look. Remember to snip away any canes (the spindly looking branches) that are overlapping.
Also it’s important to remember, no bare hand likes thorns. Get the best rose gloves possible to avoid unwanted scratches.
The Dreaded Three Ds
In the summer, your mantra should be to deter the “Three Ds”: dead, diseased, and damaged wood. Summer is perfect for easy trimming and the majority of your work will be to remove the dreadful Ds from your roses’ daily life. Also, feel free to deadhead the flowers by cutting just above the five-leaflet leaf below the flower cluster. Even though your Knock Outs are self-cleaning you can have a much prettier bush by disposing of old flowers. Most rose enthusiasts go for a dome look in the summer by cutting back new shoots and canes. However, be careful not to become the vigilant pruner in the summer, since over-cutting can be disastrous in the extreme sun!
If you had enough of the spring and summer prune, an autumn cut is not entirely necessary. Although, if you just want that extra prettiness even in the cooler times then go for it! Prune up to one-third the height of plant if it grew vigorously during the growing season. Right after you cut, make sure to fertilize the plant to avoid any kind of shock.
To you can prepare it for the winter, add up to a four inch layer of mulch to protect during the chilly months ahead.
That’s it. You’re happy. Your roses are happy. Your neighbors are envious.