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Knock Out Rose renewal pruning question

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by andyslawncare, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    Hey guys,

    We renewal prune all knock outs every year, and most of the plants have been pruned yearly since install so its all nice green wood. Some to about 12'' and some taller. My question is in regards to dormant buds on the older wood and your experience...I'm attaching a photo to help this make sense.

    What I'm talking about is the very old wood at the base. If I cut into this old wood with a pruning saw, will dormant buds set out or will I kill the plant? Last year, we had to prune these high due to the same question and I would like to have more new growth lower on the plants.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    It looks like you have only 2 trunks and they are lieing prostrate on the ground for several inches... is that true?

    Cutting old dead wood during dormancy will not trigger bud growth... and any living branches left alone will bud normally in the Spring...
    Pruning does not affect either of those scenarios... :)
  3. clcare2

    clcare2 LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 224

    also you can pretty much light the things on fire and K.O. will still grow like a weed and bloom.

    Had one idiot this year take his hedge trimmers and prune a customers property because he was too lazy to do it by hand. Best looking roses in town when they bloomed.
  4. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 965

    I think I would just cut those back to a foot or 2. They look pretty bad in current shape. Get rid of all the deadwood at the base
  5. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    This plant is in a pretty shaded area and either shade or stupid driver is the cause for the prostrate growth.

    I wasn't referring to cutting the dead wood, I was talking about the live wood at the base. It looks likes its dead wood, but this plant has just 1 dead branch at the bottom of the photo. All other gray areas have green shoots off it.

    Clcare2, I've actually had really good success with sheering the roses during the summer to extend the bloom period--most are still in bloom for Christmas here. We hand prune between January and March also.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The question about how close you can cut it at the base to renew the 'old wood' is more what is sought after with roses...

    I consider wood that looks like that as dying, so eliminating it w/out losing the plant is the purpose of pruning out 1/3 of the old wood every year...

    Is there nothing coming up from the roots at all??? It would be nice to just take that nasty prostrate trunk right out of there...
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,190

  8. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    No new growth from roots, no layering due to our strict bed management. Its almost worth it to just take the winch to them and plant new at cost or experiment and see how far we can cut. I want more compact plants there; I was hired as landscape manager and I think I should take severe action with replacement risk. The only canes that can be cut are currently green. I've only been on site for 2 years of this growth, and I feel it wasn't pruned often before me.
  9. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,190

    Those roses are anemic and need more fertilize. You have got to fertilize them monthly year round. New ones isn't going to solve the problem of them not growing. And don't overthink this pruning you can't hurt knock out roses but don't cut them to the ground. Take a winch to em:hammerhead: Those could be pulled out by hand.
  10. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    I like to use my winch its fun and easy :) Are you jealous that you don't have one? HAHA

    I'll check the soil first. I blame on old age and lack of juvenile pruning + shade. I've noticed very healthy azaleas and camellias in the same beds; the roses are healthy too, just old. The roses are still blooming today.

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