The Q&A Archives: Knockout rose care

Question: I recently bought knockout roses and they are already blooming. I bought rosetone for them and they are in a nice mulched bed. Can you give me some advise for winter protection ( we are in a windy area), and pruning?
Thank you

Answer: Knockout is a very low maintenance rose. It is pruned in the spring down to about fifteen inches tall, or more if needed to remove winter damaged stems. After a year or two you might also thin out some of the oldest canes to keep the center of the plant open to light and air.

It does not need deadheading or removal of spent blooms in order to keep blooming. If you opt to remove the faded blooms, take as little foliage as possible when you do so.

A slow release granular fertilizer is fine, follow the label directions. You can also topdress with compost in the spring if you wish. That, and the organic mulch breaking down over time, will help feed the soil.

Winter protection would mean a generous mulch layer over the root area in late fall after a few freezes. Since it is in a windy spot you might also try a wind barrier to protect the canes, possibly burlap or even a section of fencing on the windy side to slow it down. If it is grown on its own roots, it should come back nicely even if killed back to the ground. Enjoy your rose!

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