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#1: pruning knockouts now?

Posted on 2006-06-27 01:45:13 by toddclare

I'm not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, so I know very
little of the terms and things "everyone should know". We recently
redid our front bed (in Houston, TX), and put 3 knockout roses in there
becase the nursery told us we bascally couldn't kill them.

Man were they right! They're now about 3 1/2 - 4 feet high and going
like gangbusters.

We'd like to trim them back to maybe 2 1/2 to 3 feet and just get them
a little more under control (looking a little spindly right now) and
more in scale with the rest of the bed.

Questions:
- Can we cut them back to that size now?
- Should we?
- If not, when should we, and
- What is the best technique (where to prune, which stalks to prune,
etc.)
- Do we prune all the stalks to the same level, or cut some off
completely and others leave the length we want?

I meant it about not knowing much, so the more your answers resemble
talking to a 3rd grader, the better. 8 )

Thanks!

-- Todd

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#2: Re: pruning knockouts now?

Posted on 2006-06-27 03:54:38 by Gail Futoran

&lt;<a href="mailto:toddclare&#64;gmail.com" target="_blank">toddclare&#64;gmail.com</a>&gt; wrote in message
news:<a href="mailto:1151365513.899990.90140&#64;75g2000cwc.googlegroups.com..." target="_blank">1151365513.899990.90140&#64;75g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...</a>
&gt; I'm not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, so I know very
&gt; little of the terms and things &quot;everyone should know&quot;. We recently
&gt; redid our front bed (in Houston, TX), and put 3 knockout roses in there
&gt; becase the nursery told us we bascally couldn't kill them.
&gt;
&gt; Man were they right! They're now about 3 1/2 - 4 feet high and going
&gt; like gangbusters.
&gt;
&gt; We'd like to trim them back to maybe 2 1/2 to 3 feet and just get them
&gt; a little more under control (looking a little spindly right now) and
&gt; more in scale with the rest of the bed.

Sounds like you might have done better to
plant the Knockouts behind the other plants
so you can let them grow to their natural
height. A possibility for another year?

&gt; Questions:
&gt; - Can we cut them back to that size now?

It's usually better to
(1) prune in late winter/early spring
(2) let a rose get established (one year)
before hacking away at it. (Climbers should be
left alone for 2-3 years). Especially in our south
Texas heat, it will take awhile for roots to get
established. The more leaves (on canes) you
remove, the more stressed the rose is likely to be.
The more stressed, the more susceptible to
diesease, drought, etc. etc.

&gt; - Should we?

If some of the canes are in the way of
walking by, getting to other plants, etc.,
then you could probably do some minor
pruning to &quot;shape&quot;.

&gt; - If not, when should we, and

I pruned late this year and was pruning into
late spring (= mid summer, as you know &lt;g&gt;).
The roses I pruned are doing fine so far but
most are well established (several years in the
ground).

&gt; - What is the best technique (where to prune, which stalks to prune,
&gt; etc.)

Canes, not stalks. Generally: Prune down to an
outward facing leaf bud. Prune to open up the
center of the rose (for better air circulation -
especially in hot, humid Houston). Prune to
remove canes that cross over and rub against
other canes. Usually removing some canes in
the center will accomplish that.

See articles at www.ars.org for pruning techniques
or invest in a relatively cheap Ortho All About
Roses available at bookstores, Lowes, Home
Depot, etc. About $15, lots of good information
and very useful pictures &amp; illustrations. I have
dozens of rose books some of them rather
expensive, and I still rely most heavily on my
cheapy Ortho &amp; Sunset garden books. You can
even find them in used bookstores sometimes.
The info. doesn't change that much over time.
I also like the British Rose Expert book that
has several editions out.

&gt; - Do we prune all the stalks to the same level, or cut some off
&gt; completely and others leave the length we want?

Again, since you just planted these this year,
I wouldn't go wild with pruning, especially not
completing deleting some canes. And the idea
of rose canes cut all at the same level makes
me shudder! Roses aren't meant to be squared
off hedges. Better to go for a rounded effect,
with center canes higher than canes around
the sides.

&gt; I meant it about not knowing much, so the more your answers resemble
&gt; talking to a 3rd grader, the better. 8 )

Book now buy :)
And/or visit www.ars.org

&gt; Thanks!
&gt;
&gt; -- Todd

Good luck, Todd. You're asking good questions.
You'll probably get different answers, so just
do what you think best and hope Knockouts
really are as foolproof as you were told. Chances
are they're survive. Roses (mostly) are very
hardy plants. For our south TX conditions,
water is the most important factor now.

I have about 150 roses and have replaced about
1/3 of them that died due to my ignorance about
one factor or another, so don't worry about being
clueless. You'll learn.

Gail
near San Antonio TX Zone 8

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