The Q&A Archives: Knock Out Rose Care

Question: I live in Zone 4. It is March 14, 2006. I planted three Blushing Knock Out Roses last spring. They have grown to about 3 feet. I did not do anything to them for winterizing. They still have the dried leaves on from fall and I just noticed some greening starting at the center as the snow has melted. Do I leave them alone for the spring season or am I supposed to cut them back to the ground? If I am to do anything to them please be specific as these are my first rose bushes and am excited for a new growing season.
Thank you

Answer: These hardy landscape roses should not require special winter care as one would need for the tender grafted hybrid tea roses. Required pruning is absolutely minimal: in the spring, trim out any winter damaged canes. During the season, should a particular cane grow out of bounds a bit, just trim it back for neatness. If desired, pruning can be more intensive. Early each spring simply trim the entire plant back very short to encourage dense new growth -- you could use hedge shears to do this quickly. Either method will help keep vigorous new growth coming in and keep air flow moving through the center of the plant a bit better. You will also be able to keep the plants tidy although their normal shapes are fairly regular regardless of whether or not they are regularly pruned. Enjoy your roses!

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