How to Care for Knock Out Roses in the Winter Months

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During the winter months, caring for a Knock Out rose bush simply requires trimming back the foliage and branches that start looking ratty. Avoid fertilizers until after the winter has passed with helpful information from a sustainable gardener in this free video on roses.

Part of the Video Series: Rose Gardening
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment we're going to give you some answers on how to take care of your Knockout Roses for the winter. Now in the middle of summer you have lots and lots of beautiful blooms and then when winter hits, the blooms start to fade and it starts getting cold at night and all the foliage will turn brown. So my theory on any plant is if the foliage looks great and it has beautiful blooms, leave it alone. If it's starting to look ratty, just trim out whatever looks ratty. So the deal is in the fall, you should prepare the plant for winter by not giving it any fertilizer at all because they found that plants that don't have any fertilizer in the fall do much better 'cause they're ready for the winter. If you give it lots of nitrogen base fertilizer it will grow more greenery and you're not doing it any favors 'cause it'll just be damage in the cold or the winter. So neglect it; that's the number one thing. Don't water it too much either 'cause it's going to start raining and let it get more in a natural cycle. And so I just trim out all the spent flowers in the, to prepare for winter. I'll just trim out all the spent flowers and all the medusa-like plants that are coming out and kind of make it little more compact. But I don't do my major trimming actually until the spring. So the trick is with Knockout Roses, is just to trim it back so it looks uniform, looks green, looks good enough and then in the springtime, before it starts getting really warm but right at the point where it stops freezing; go in and trim the whole thing back to about eighteen inches tall and then that way it will fill in beautifully for the next summer. It's really that easy.


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