Pruning My Knockout Roses
by Ronette Hurley
(Johnson City, TN)
QUESTION: Hello - I live in Johnson City, Tennessee and need to prune my rose bushes.
However, it is only the beginning of March and already they have new growth starting.
Is it too late to prune - I do not want to hurt them they were just beautiful last season!
ANSWER: Hi Ronette! If your area has such cold winters that you have to cover your knockout roses, you should only prune after the risk of a hard freeze is gone, and you have removed the winter covers.
For roses that bloom on new wood, and knockout roses do, you should do the major pruning in spring, when the buds are beginning to swell on the canes, but be sure all danger of frost is gone.
Since your knockouts are already having new growth, you might start pruning now. But make sure the frost danger is gone first, ok.
Don't worry about hurting the knockout roses. They are pretty tough.
You might ask your local garden nursery that sell roses, when the danger of frost is gone.
I know your region has been hammered with lots of snow this year.
In warmer climates that don't get frost, and where the roses do not go dormant, you should prune the knockout roses, in late fall, or early winter.
I garden in Los Angeles, and I prune my roses, and the knockout roses, the first week of January.