Pruning Knock Out Roses
Pruning Knock Out Roses is easy. Not only are they the most disease-free roses in the world they are easy to care for in every other way.
When And How To Prune Knock Out Roses
Winter / Late Spring Pruning
Knock Out Roses should be pruned heavily in early spring, just before or after new red foliage begins to emerge. At this time, cut the shrub back to about 12-18" above the ground. This ensures that the plant will have a good habit and healthy blooms throughout the season. When pruning, make your cut just above an outward-facing leaf bud. The leaf bud is not the thorn but a small protrusion from which will grow a new leaf or branch. I've found that pruning just above an outward-facing bud will promote a wider, bushier rose bush, rather than a taller, leggier plant when cuts are made above an inward facing bud.
You can prune Knock Out Roses lightly throughout the active growth season, between flushes of buds and blooms, to encourage heavier repeat blooming.
When NOT to Prune a Knock Out Rose
Cease pruning about 2 months before typical first frost date in your area.