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How to Prune Double Knockout Roses

When and How to Properly Prune your Double Knockout Roses for Even More Blooms

Pruned Double Knockout Rose BushQuestion:  What is the best characteristic of the Double Knockout rose?

Here's a hint:  it's not the super-sized, continuous blooms, the resistance to pests and disease, or the increased cold hardiness over other rose varieties!  Sure, these are all amazing features that any gardener would jump up and down over. 

But the BEST characteristic of the Double Knockout rose is low maintenance!
Double Knockouts are "self-cleaning" roses that do not require dead-heading or even regular pruning to thrive! 

But you can promote even more blooms from the Knockout if you do adopt a simple, proper pruning method with it.

First of all, avoid pruning the Double Knockout at all during the first two years.  It simply isn't necessary or helpful, and is just adding extra work for you! 

You need to allow your rose to mature and develop the shape it's meant to have before you intervene in any way.  Once you've entered the third growing season with your Knockout, you'll need only two simple tools to get the job done:

- Gardening Gloves
- Pruning Shears

The ideal time to prune a Double Knockout rose is in the very early spring, once you’re sure the last hard freeze of the winter season has passed.  It is recommended that you follow up this pruning with your annual fertilization to promote new, healthy growth to replace what has been sheared away.

You should begin by first sterilizing your pruning sheers with hot water or alcohol.  This ensures you will be giving your Double Knockouts clean, healthy cut without risk of introducing any foreign bacteria. 

You must also remember to always prune at an angle, and never straight across.  This is for the health of your roses!

Use your pruning sheers to remove any dead or dying stems, as well as any “runners” that you may encounter – thin canes that shoot up from the ground and rob nutrients from your main plant.  Once you’ve done this, you are ready to prune.

If your shrub has become a little unruly and you prefer a more uniform look from a rose bush, you can trim it back gently and using the technique above.  Try to keep the stems about 1-2 feet long, and always practice the “1/3 rule” – never remove more than 1/3 of the oldest stems, not counting any stems that are diseased, damaged, or dead/dying.

It’s a very simple process!  But remember – pruning is never necessary with a Double Knockout rose and you can reap all the benefits this rose has to offer without ever dabbling with pruning.  However, following proper double knockout rose maintenance can provide even MORE growth and blooms.