Pruning Knockout Roses
I have a five-year-old Knockout rose. One of the canes is over 3 feet long but it starts near the base of the plant and grows parallel to the ground and only about an inch above it. When the cane reaches light at the outside of the plant, the end of the cane grow upward and blooms. Should this be cut back? Thanks.
I'm a firm believer in removing canes to the ground when they are old, large and gray. You can remove up to 1/3 of the rose's canes/branches annually. Also remove side shoots that are growing toward the interior of the rose. While annual pruning isn't mandatory for Knock-Out roses, it will result in an increase in blooms and a more tidy plant. Pruning dead, diseased, or damaged canes should be done as soon as observed. Early spring, just as the leaf buds are breaking, is the ideal time to prune. The rose is in a better position to heal the wound than during winter.