Today is Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blooming rose a Knock Out

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Knock Out roses were developed by William Redler, a Wisconsin botanist who wanted a strong, disease-resistant rose bush. The bushes grow to about 3 feet in height and stays in a relatively tidy mound in the soil. Proper care can keep these roses blooming late into the fall.

The bush is drought-tolerant and if left un-pruned, the Knock Out family of roses can easily grow to be more than 3 to 4r feet wide by 3 to 4 feet tall. Periodic trims will keep them maintained at a smaller size.

“Mine have grown so fast, I would advise people to space them 3 feet apart,” Stafford noted, adding that she planted hers between existing shrubberies.

Stafford chose to grow the roses because of the small amount of attention they require and to fill her free time with flowers that grow easily and are ideal for gardeners of beginning or intermediate skill.

She pointed out having something to fill spare time that gets you outside is a good hobby for everyone. Also, when the flowers bloom, Stafford said she takes a lot of pride and joy in the look of the roses and the effort she put into making them grow.

To care for the roses, it’s recommended by some to avoid any pruning in the first season and to allow the bush to grow into its own shape. During the growing season, shape the Knock Out bush and be sure to keep the mound at the base as rounded as possible.

Also, trim any branches that are growing faster than others. You can remove faded blooms by deadheading to encourage new growth. Regular deadheading will keep the Knock Out rose bush blooming until late fall. Stafford explains that she pinches off older blooms to make way for newer flowers.

“My plants are 3 years old and the time and care for these roses is very minimal,” she said.Water the Knock Out rose at the bottom of the shrub, and reducing the shrub’s exposure to overhead watering prevents leaf spot and disease. Of course, be sure to increase the watering frequency during dry weather.

Stafford said she likes to use diluted dish washing detergent in a quart of water to clean the rose petals, not only keeping them fresh, but also warding off any insects such as the Japanese beetle.

Around the base of the bush, spread a layer of mulch about 3 inches thick, taking care not to pile it against the stems. Also, you can apply a fertilizer designed for rose bushes, following the manufacturer’s instructions on fertilizing frequency.

Stafford likes to take a more unique approach to fertilizing her Knock Out roses with used coffee grounds. She takes the used coffee grounds from work and brings them home to sprinkle over the soil.

“I am a home economist so I’m always trying to find ways to save,” Stafford said.

Plant the Knock Out rose in a sunny location and within well-drained soil to prevent the bush from rotting. A once-a-year cut to about 12-18 inches above the ground in early spring is also recommended for maximum performance.

If you want to give the roses a trim, the best time to do it is right after the first bloom flush in early summer, followed with some fertilizer. This should only be a light trim to cut off spent blooms and shape it a bit so it looks good.

This early summer rose trimming speeds up another great flower flush, but only if you fertilize also. If you want your roses to bloom even more, Stafford said that deadheading is a good idea. The big pruning takes place once a year in late winter or early spring.

Leave the Knock Out rose bush intact in the winter and cut the shrub down each spring. The roses bloom on new growth. Knock Out roses have thorns so use heavy duty gardening gloves when handling the plant.

Although this may seem like a lot of work, Stafford is confident the Knock Out rose is a good alternative to hybrid roses. She said the beginning gardener could very well take care of this bush and have beautiful flowers come spring time.

“If you have difficulty growing the hybrid roses, go to the Knock Out roses because the maintenance is much less,” she said.

Stafford took part in the Wilson County University of Tennessee-Knoxville Extension Master Gardener program that’s a six week class during the summer. There are courses offered in Mt. Juliet and in Lebanon at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center.

“For more information, contact your local agricultural extension office and take time and enroll in your local master gardening program,” Stafford said.

You may contact the local Extension Office and Extension Agent Ruth Correll at 444-9584. The office is located at 925 East Baddour Pkwy., Suite 100, Lebanon.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

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