How to prune a Knock Out® rose

Knock Out@ roses are desired by so many; and why not? Indeed, the rose holds our attention, begging us to stop and stair.

As seen in many North Carolina gardens, the Knock Out rose, is one rose that looks good, blooms continuously during the growing season, and is virtually maintenance free. Not spraying required.

When you read this, I hope you aren’t too disappointed to find out there is very little you need to know or do to prune your Knock Out roses.

Anytime during the year, dead wood can be pruned away from the shrub, but any major pruning to shape the shrub rose should be done during the dormant season in late winter/ early spring.

When planting your Knock Out roses, give them room to grow their full size, so then the only attention you need to give the shrub rose, is you admiration. For an added bonus, Knock Out roses are self-cleaning meaning, so you don’t even need to deadhead; only if you want too.

It would seem the Knock Out rose is destined to be the perfect landscape shrub rose.

How to prune Knock Out roses

Using sharp by-pass pruning shears, begin by cutting off any deadwood. Next removed any spindly canes growing from the base of the shrub rose.

Look for an outward facing bud and cut just above the bud at a 45-degree angle sloping towards the bush.

So you can see pruning Knock Out roses isn’t particularly tricky, and doesn’t actually need to be done at all. But if desired, pruning while dormant and above a bud will reward you with vigorous growth and continuous blooms during the growing season.

By: Helen Yoest
The TarHeelGardening blog is published and edited by Helen Yoest. For more information on Tarheel Gardening, please visit our website at Tarheel Gardening - your online resource for North Carolina gardening enthusiasts.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association

This entry was posted in How-tos, Shrubs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to How to prune a Knock Out® rose

  1. Thanks Helen
    Now how about telling me how to prune a wild azalea (the orange ones) I have about
    20 of them in my backyard sort of out of control. I’m wondering if it is the same as the
    knock out roses in the article above.
    Thanks for your help

    • For your azaleas, it is best to prune right after they bloom, so you don’t compromise this year’s flowers. If you wait too long, you will compromise next year’s flowers, so plan to do right they are finished blooming.

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  3. Thank you Helen. I will pass this along…
    My roses must love their location, reaching over 5 feet tall, when the little tag said 4×4

  4. Jan Johnsen says:

    Great and timely piece…I have learned that pruning the Knock outs now (with gusto!) is the key to full shribs with masses of flowers later….

  5. tina says:

    So many people are confused on how to prune these roses. Great and timely advice!

  6. Betty Neamon says:

    I’ve many, many knockOut Roses, get a newsletter from ‘some’ company, forget from ‘where!’ They advised me that if I could send a picture of the problem that’s happening to 1 bush, then they likely could advise me what is happening to it.[something eating? can't see anything, growth defect? Don't know!] Have lost the Nursery that sends me the newsletter! My computer guy, Jeff, came by, taught me how to use my new camera then feed the defective-rose picture into it, send it. BUT: have lost the nursery name! Perhaps you could help. But I’m not sure how to send the picture.Perhaps when my daughter comes by, she’ll help me send it.

  7. Neil says:

    My KnockOut roses are getting out of hand. Can I prune them now (June)?

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