Pruning KNOCK OUT® roses
If you think you’d enjoy trying out KNOCK OUT® roses and wish to enhance the overall beauty and fragrance of your garden, there are a only a few factors to consider. Some regions in the world don’t get enough sunlight, and KNOCK OUT® roses don’t do well without about 5 hours per day. The other factor is knowing how much frost comes down in the winter. KNOCK OUT® roses can stand quite a bit of elemental pressure, but do best in regions as cold as Zone 5 (in the US). If you by chance live in a colder area, then you can still have them, but they’ll need some protection.
In any case, Knockout Roses are much easier to grow than most types of roses. That applies to pruning as well.
This is one of the lower maintenance roses that are available in the market.
KNOCK OUT® roses won’t suffer excessively if they aren’t pruned at all, so its not an absolute necessity. However, its not a bad idea to try to prune at least on a 3 year cycle to keep them tidy. And pruning them annually will ensure a more graceful, orderly growth. The following tips are general guidelines if you choose to be thorough with your upkeep.
Basically, if you prune KNOCK OUT® roses when they’re dormant, (ideally in early spring after the last frost), it will encourage summer growth. Summer is usually when the growth will be most vigorous.
Removing the spindly growth towards the base of the bush encourages the growth of the flowers from the inner branches. Its also helpful to cut even green shoots that originate from brown dried out stems.
When dealing with shears and other pruning tools, excess wear and tear can cause harm to your roses. Of course make sure they’re sharp enough to make clean cuts, but also its a good idea to sterilize them as well. Rubbing alcohol or carefully using a sanitizer does the trick. They are already disease resistant, but pruning with clean shears helps prevent any problems when there’s contact on the exposed center of the stem.
As for the cutting process, the basic rule is to slice at a 45 degree angle so that water doesn’t collect on the top. Clean cuts are best and going down about one half of each branch works well. Some would advise to try and cut 1/4 inch above a bud that faces out from the bush.
Some people cut to a certain length depending on how high they’d like the rose bush to get for that year. On average annual growth is about 24 to 30 inches. For example, if the final height that you have in mind is about 40 inches, prune the shrub to about 16-20 inches.
Lastly, consider your geographic location when pruning. If local experts advise a specific method (or not to prune at all) because of a local climate factor or exposure to local pests, then its probably best to apply that. But in the end, pruning is nothing to be intimidated about, since its not easy to do serious damage to rose bushes, even with less-than-perfect technique.