Trimming Knock Out Roses in Central Texas. (Video)

Wondering how to trim knock out roses in Central Texas? It is important you ensure you are dealing with knockout roses rather than an antique or climbing rose because they are maintained very differently.

What are Knock Out Roses?

Knock Out® Roses hybrids were developed to resist common rose diseases and produce prolific blooms.

Though non-native, they have proven to be very successful in the Central Texas area. This repeat bloomer is a very resilient, disease-resistant shrub-rose that requires very little maintenance. Here are some more basic facts:

  • Grows from 3-5′ tall and just as wide
  • They have a MEDIUM water usage.
  • Show blooms from early June until the first frost (foliage lasts year round)
  • They are perennials (meaning that they survive multiple seasons).
  • Partially shade-tolerant, but needs around six hours of sunlight per day
  • Flowers range in color from purple to red to pink

* Much of this information was gathered thanks to The Perennial Farm and the Texas AgriLife Extension.

Knock out roses in Central Texas

The trimming process…

So how should you actually trim knock out roses in Central Texas?

  1. Start with a dance or pump up song

    We recommend you start here with just about anything in life. Here is a good Rocky motivational video

  2. Is the season right?

    In Central Texas you want to trim them back in January or February. An easy way to remember this: Get it done before Valentine’s Day!

  3. Use proper tools

    Gather the proper equipment. We use hedge trimmers (they are sharp and powerful creating a quick, clean cut). But you can use a set of sharp hand pruners or loppers. Just make sure they have a set of “bypass blades” meaning they create a clean cut, not a smash or pinch. Also…be safe and use gloves and other protective stuff. Roses are nasty and can do some damage to exposed skin. 

  4. Be aggressive on your cut back

    Typically we recommend 1/3 to a 1/2 of the plant be removed. Cut it to 12 – 24 inches. The precise height depends on a few things:
    – Age of the plant  – Older Roses should be cut back less (taller). 
    – Your landscape goals – If this is in front of a window, you may want it to be shorter (or taller if you like to hide). 
    – The alignment of the moon, Mars and Venus. Kidding. This doesn’t matter. 
    – Location of the plant – Roses bloom most in the sun. 

Why do we cut them so aggressively?

Many people let their roses grow without a significant cut back resulting in “leggy” roses. Why? Blooms only grow on the first year’s growth. The old canes will not produce new blooms, so if you want to keep the overall size of the shrub in check while still seeing blooms, you need to cut it back hard (preferably around valentine’s day). 

How fast do they grow back?

At Top Choice Lawn Care we cut back knock-out roses substantially…very substantially. At first it looks extreme, and we have to have conversations with customers explaining the reasoning and reassuring them that they will come back strong. To show how rapidly the roses grow, we took some pictures to show how quickly they grow.

February 19th
February 19th
March 13th
March 13th
March 31st
March 31st

If you would like to learn more about our beds and shrubs program or our team please visit those pages!

This article was originally published February, 2023.