rose bushes - Knowledgebase Question

Nashville, Te
Question by courtneypew
October 10, 2010
I have some rose bushes that I have never pruned or trimmed. This yr they really need it. One of my bushes is a knock out rose (do u know the proper name 4 knock outs, if there is 1)? How far down, or how much should I cut? What are the impt. things I should look for? And how Di you know the new wood from the old, doesn't the new wood grow from the old wood? Do I do the same w/ climbing rose? Thnx


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Answer from NGA
October 10, 2010

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Rosa 'Knockout' is the registered name for Knockout roses. These roses will grow into a hedge if not pruned but they are hardy enough to tolerate all kinds of pruning so you won't need to handle them in any special way. In general, you can remove dead stems and canes at any time of the year; you can give them a light pruning after their first flush of bloom in the spring. If your Knockout roses are really overgrown you can prune them back hard in January - down by about two-thirds, if necessary. You can tell old wood from new wood by looking at the canes - the newest ones will be green and the oldest ones will have bark and begin to look a little gray in color. You're right - you need to retain at least some old wood so new growth can develop. Climbers are pruned a little differently. Climbers produce flowering stems on the wood that developed this past summer. You can prune climbers down in January or February. Remove about one-fourth of the older wood, and trim the remaining canes to control the size and to give it the shape you want. Then prune the lateral rose shoots back to about 2 or 3 buds. Hope this clarifies things for you.

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