Did I Prune My Knockout Roses Incorrectly?

by Jim Caswell


Attached are current pictures of my double knockout roses.

Mid-March I pruned my roses by cutting approx. 1/3 off the tops.

This was per instructions of multiple websites.

You can see new growth coming up from the bottoms but nothing from the canes I had pruned.

We have had a very late spring (northwest Illinois) and I wonder if I should just be patient.
Or should I continue pruning the canes that are brown and have no green growth by cutting down to near the bottom?

This will be the third year of these roses, the first two years I did not prune at all so March of this year was my first pruning.

What should I do, if anything, at this time?

Jim Caswell

Hello Jim,
You forgot to add your e-mail, so I don't know if you will get this answer.

(Folks, all of you who don't add an e-mail address will not have an answer, this was an exception, however, Jim might never see it.)

No, you did not prune your knockout rose (or any rose) correctly.

First, there are a lot of spindly and over-crossing canes that should have been pruned down at the base.

Then there are spindly little canes all about, they should be cut off where they emerge from.

You can do that now. And, please prune off any dead brown canes with no signs of life, at the base. You can do that now also. But please hurry.

Any cane that is brown should be pruned down to live wood, white pith inside the canes.

If you don't see any white pith inside a cane the cane is dead.

Prune it of at the base.

Since there is growth only at the base, I suspect that all canes, or most for sure, are dead.

In that case, prune off all canes to the ground, so the green new growth will take off.

Here is my page about prunning knockout roses.

Just click on that link and read about how to properly prune knockout roses.

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