Step 1 – When Do I Actually Prune Roses?
Knock Out Roses lose their foliage much later than hybrid tea roses. You should wait until cold weather, usually after 2-3 hard freezes, has caused the foliage to fall off the rose canes. In East Tennessee usually does not happen until late November.
The pictures of these roses are taken on Oct so I could shown the process only!
Step 2 – How Much Do I Trim?
Trim the roses canes to about 2 feet above the ground. You can remove a few dead canes if needed, but do not thin.
Step 3 – Remove the old mulch.
Diseases and insects can overwinter in the mulch, as well as on the rose canes. Remove as much of the old mulch as possible and use in another place in your landscape. Broadcast Fertilome Dusting Sulfur on the ground. Both of these steps will reduce diseases and insects next year.
You can also spray with a dormant spray, including lime-sulfur and horticulture oil to control diseases and insects.
Shredded mulch is better than mini-nuggets or pine straw.
(A heavy jacket is better than a light sweater.)
Apply 15-18″, or 1.5 cu.ft. of organic mulch over the top of the rose bush in a cone shape.
Do not trim roses until most of the foliage has dropped from the rose canes.
Do not add mulch until the ground has had time to cool. If you apply too soon, the roses will continue to grow.
In early March, gently spread the mulch and fertilize with Evergreen H&G Rose Food.