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I just moved to NW Arkansas and am starting to plan my garden. Are roses that winter
hardy in NW Arkansas? Do I still do all the trimming in February, I believe on Washington
’s Birthday? Should roses be protected against winter weather in NW Arkansas with
screened-in leaves or other "bundling"?
Roses are quite hardy in NW Arkansas. I would say your best selection will probably
be in mid to late February when the rose shipments begin coming in, but we do well
with a wide range of roses. Hybrid tea roses require a rigorous spray program to
keep black spot at bay, but there are a whole range of other types of roses with great
disease resistance to choose from. We do recommend pruning in late February—weather
allowing. Last year in late February we were still having snow and ice, so late March
was our pruning period. The key is to prune hard before new growth is well under
way. Heading bush roses back to a height of 4-5 feet in the fall aids in winter stability,
and heavy pruning is still done in late February or early March. Mulching the base
of the plants year-round helps maintain soil moisture and temperature and looks more
I pruned my roses last week and now I see that we have the chance for more snow.
Are the plants going to die? Did I prune too soon?
It has been a miserable winter and spring is definitely later than normal. Pruning
of roses is recommended for late February, so you did right. March can bring more
cold weather, and the chance of winter weather is always there. Let’s hope that the
temperatures don’t get below the mid 20’s and we should be ok. The biggest challenge
I see is how dry things are. If you have the chance and you haven’t had ample rain,
water before a cold snap to ensure that there is a buffer in your plants. A little
extra mulch piled at the base can also help protect the plant.
I rooted a cutting from a knockout rose this year and planted it in a pot on my patio.
It has bloomed all summer, can I safely move it now to a flower bed on the west side
of my house, and expect it to live through the winter. I live in Little Rock.
Yes, plant it in the ground, mulch it and water if dry and it should do well. Wait
to prune it back in late February. Even though we don’t prune Knock out roses as severely
as hybrid tea roses, they do need to be pruned by at least 1/3 – ½ every year before
growth kicks back in.
Would I be safe in moving Knock Out Roses now? If I can, should I prune them before
the move? I live in east central Arkansas, and I don’t want to lose my bushes.
Even though it is cooling off, plants are not dormant yet. The dormant season is the
best time to move plants—between November and February. My preference with roses is
to wait until February when you can prune and move at the same time. Pruning roses
heavily in the fall can make the plants more susceptible to winter damage. If you
are doing construction or have an immediate need to move your plants, it is doable,
but prune as little as possible to make the move feasible and keep the plant healthy.
Usually, the smaller the thorny bush, the easier it is to move, thus I prefer to wait
until February with roses.
Our knock-out roses have had the wind knocked out of their beauty by this year's drought.
We have a dozen plants along the fence line that receive full sun from 8am to 6:00pm!
They were planted May, 2011 and we babied them through the hot summer last year and
won that war. We use a soaker hose rather than above ground watering. Where do I go
from here to try and save them from further drought damage? You can see the yellowed/scorched
leaves, the bare canes!! Can they be pruned now? Can they be revived at all?
This question and answer are similar to the butterfly question above. Knock out roses
should be pruned by at least 1/3 every year in late February. Right now, a light corrective
pruning can give them the chance to produce foliage instead of flowers and get a bit
more attractive. Once the cooler weather kicks in with some rain, they should begin
to bloom again. For now it is a temporary fix, but by next Feb, you can do more severe
pruning. Fertilize them lightly now as well and they should begin to bounce back.
All the watering we have done this season has also leached out the nutrition of our
soil and roses can take one last application of fertilizer now.
My knockout roses are staying alive, with a little watering, despite the punishing
summer. They would probably look better if I deadheaded them aggressively, as well
as maybe blooming more later. Or should I leave them in place to produce hips for
wild animal/bird food. Should I deadhead my other roses, the climbers and the shrubs
and teas? I usually leave them pretty much alone, but they are pretty neglected concerning
feeding and pruning.
Many rosarians do a little corrective pruning, both deadheading and thinning a bit
of the rose plants in the heat of summer. This lets the plant conserve some of its
resources, gives it a fuller foliaged plant and allows for better blooming when the
temperature eventually breaks in the fall. Keep in mind that when a plant is blooming,
its main resources go to the flowers. Some of our roses can get a little leggy by
late summer, and could use a little more fullness of foliage. Don’t get carried away
and do extensive pruning, but a little corrective pruning may be just what the doctor
ordered. Continue to water and if it isn’t too awfully hot, give them a light dose
of fertilizer as well. Knockout roses usually don’t form rose hips, since they are
“self-cleaning” which means they don’t set seeds, but try to continually bloom. The
only roses I would not prune are the climbers, especially those that only bloom in
the spring, as you could interfere with flower set.
My Knock out roses are in their third year and have never been pruned. When is the
best time to do so, and how do I prune them?
Knockout roses are considered shrub roses, so do not require the severe pruning of
hybrid tea roses, but they still should be pruned every year in late February. I would
imagine yours got a bit gangly going three years without being pruned. Take them back
by 1/3 – ½, making selective cuts in the bush—don’t shear them into a ball with a
hedge trimmer. You want them looking natural after being cut back. Knockout roses
bloom on the new growth, so you want to encourage a full plant, with plenty of growth,
so you get more blooms.
I would like to know when I should cut my knockout roses back. I waited until May
last year and I realized I should have cut them sooner.
Knock out roses are considered a shrub rose, so pruning of about 1/3 should be done
in late February when we prune hybrid tea roses. With the winter we are having, everything
seems to be behind schedule, so if you don't get around to it until mid March you
should be fine. Late February is typically chosen because we like to get the pruning
done before new growth has really kicked in. Knock outs bloom on the new growth, so
late pruning simply delays the first flowers.
We have one double pink Knock-out rose growing in a container. It grew rather large
and is somewhat misshapen, and new leaves are starting to bud. Is it time to trim
it? Do standard rose-pruning techniques apply?
Many of the Knock-out Roses grew quite dramatically this past growing season with
all the rain. You do want to do some pruning annually on these shrub roses, but not
as severely as we do on hybrid teas. Selectively prune back by one third, pruning
to buds or small sprouts that are growing in the direction you want the plant to grow.
Don’t cut all the branches at the same height, do so with staggered cuts to get a
fuller plant and more flowers. Prune annually like with other shrub roses in late
February through early March. Most roses are sprouted and growing by now every year
when we have mild winter weather—they are actually slower this season due to the colder
My husband & I bought a couple of rose bushes to plant this spring. When would be
the best time to plant them without fear of frost damage?
Plant them now. Many roses come in those small plastic sleeves and are called ‘bare
root’ plants. The plastic sleeve has some fill in it to keep the roots moist, but
there is nothing to sustain active growth. Bare root plants are shipped dormant and
meant to be planted dormant. So don’t delay. If you bought a containerized rose bush
it has also been outside at the nursery and should be totally hardened off. Get it
in the ground, mulch it and water. Tip: For those who have established roses, the
roses have begun growing statewide, so if you haven’t pruned yet, do so immediately
or it can delay the onset of the first blooms.
I recently moved to northwest Arkansas from Minnesota. In Minnesota, we grew roses
but had to lay them down during the winter for protection. I am currently growing
roses in Arkansas but not sure what type of winter care they need. By now they would
be underground in Minnesota, but here I still have green leaves and even a few flowers.
When do I prune them and how far? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
Roses are quite hardy in all parts of Arkansas, and it is not unusual for them to
be semi-evergreen most winters. While they do shed a preponderance of their leaves,
they retain some most years. It depends on what type of roses you are growing as to
how much and when to prune. In general, most rose bushes should be pruned in late
February. Hybrid teas require a more rigorous pruning—cutting them back 8 – 18 inches
from the ground each year. Shrub roses—whether they are antiques or new “earth kind”
roses should be pruned more selectively—like a shrub. Again, do this before growth
begins in the spring—usually late February. You do need to prune all roses every year
since they bloom on the new growth. If you are growing climbing roses, we usually
allow them to have their first flush of flowers in the spring before blooming.
How far back should I prune my climbing rose bush and when is the appropriate time?
I am pretty proficient with my bush roses, but am uncertain what to do with the climbers.
Many climbing roses bloom their best in the spring. Even those that are ever blooming
climbers, have their best display of flowers the first bloom. Allow your climbing
roses to bloom in the spring, and then prune. Prune out one or two of the older and
woodier canes close to the main crown. This should encourage younger branches which
should keep the plant in bounds and give you more flowers. Tip cut any thin twiggy
We have a brick mailbox with a rounded top. I have 3 climbing rose bushes that I want
to climb over the top of the mailbox. I got busy last fall and did not prune them.
We had a lot of roses this year, but there weren’t a lot of leaves. The roses have
finished blooming and they are scarce as far as the leaves go. The leaves that are
there look green with no spots. After they started blooming this year, I fed the bushes
and also applied the Bayer liquid for roses. At this time, I have several limbs with
little or no leaves that are going all over the place. There are a lot of thorns.
Any suggestions of how to train these climbing roses to climb over the mailbox? Should
I go ahead and prune them now? I was just not sure, because if I keep pruning them,
they will never be long enough to climb the mailbox.
Climbing roses can bloom all summer or only once in the spring--it depends on the
variety. Many people are uncertain as to when to prune so they just don't and the
plants get gangly and less thrifty. Allow climbers to bloom in the spring and then
do your pruning. Normally we like to take out one to three older canes and take out
the thin, weak wood. Taking out an old cane now is not going to hurt but recovery
will be slower since it is hot and dry. The goal is to have a variety of aged canes
with foliage from the ground up. Mailmen are often not fond of a lot of landscaping
around the mailbox, as bees can compete with mail delivery. Have some type of trellis
for them to grow on, prune annually after the first flush of blooms in the spring,
fertilize monthly, water as needed and control black spot when it is needed and your
roses should do well.
We need to move rose bushes from one location in our yard to another. Could we do
that this fall? If so, would it be O.K. to cut them back, plant, and then mulch in
well? Or should we wait until early spring? Also, I have rooted a gardenia which is
growing new leaves in a pot outside. Should we leave that in the pot and bring it
in this winter, or could I plant it outside, mulching it down well for the winter
The best time to move roses would be February, the same time we prune them. If you
must move them this fall, it can be done, but I would avoid pruning if possible. Pruned
roses heading into fall and winter would make them more susceptible to winter damage.
Mulch them; limit how much is taken off, water as needed, and then prune as normal
in February. Better yet, wait to do it all in late February. As to the gardenia, this
one is tricky. It is always better to have a plant in the ground establishing its
root system. As miserable as it is outside right now, it would be hard to keep a new
plant watered. The later we plant a gardenia, the less chance of root establishment.
Then we don't know what type of winter we will have. Many well established gardenias
took a hit last winter, and newly planted ones won't be as hardy. You have two options.
Plant now, water well, and mulch. Monitor the plant this winter, and if temperatures
are predicted below 15-20, cover the plant with a cardboard box, or similar protection.
The other option is to grow it indoors as a houseplant this winter and plant outdoors
How do you prune a shrub Knock Out rose? Mine are three feet tall and seem awfully
spindly. They are only one year old.
Knock Out™ Rose is one of the “environmentally friendly” roses that have hit the market
in recent years. It is a compact shrub rose, resistant to black spot disease. It does
not need the yearly rigorous pruning of hybrid teas, but can be shaped and pruned
as needed. Since yours is spindly, you can cut it back to within 8-18 inches of the
ground. Prune it to individual buds that go in directions you want the plant to grow.
Even though many roses are already leafing out, and some have said they even had a
rose bud, wait until late February to prune. This will protect the plants if we should
have any real winter weather.
Last week you talked about pruning Knock Out Roses. I don't know what they are. I
have two bushes I planted last year. They have come through the winter just fine but
are pretty rank....tall & skinny. They are climbers -- one is called Golden Showers
and the other is a C.L. Pearly Gates pat # 10,640. I was thinking I needed to prune
these. Are they "Knock Out" roses and should I go ahead and prune them?
Knock OutTM Roses are a variety of roses, and considered one of the new "environmentally
friendly" roses that are easier to grow, requiring less sunlight, spray programs and
fertilization. There are now red, pink and yellow Knock Out™ Roses. They would be
labeled as such. They are not given other names. Yours are not Knock OutTM Roses.
Climbers should be pruned every year, but not until after the first flush of flowers.
Some climbers only bloom once a year, while others bloom all summer. Let them flower,
then remove one or two of the older, longer canes. Prune to a new bud within a foot
from the ground.
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