The Q&A Archives: Feeding Roses

Question: I planted 3 Knock-Out Rose Bushes recently. New to me. Do I feed them and what? I live in zone 5. Do I prune, and when?

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. You can feed in the spring with a specialized rose food or with a general purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer. Enjoy your roses!

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