QUESTION: “I read your article recommending knock-out roses and I planted three double reds this spring, but was unsure what type of winter care they need. I have several hybrid teas that I mulch about 8 inches above the crown. Do I need to do this with the knock-outs as well? Also, do I prune them back, now or next spring?” – Sonia Lencyk
ANSWER: We have quite a few knockout roses ourselves. Some years we do not mulch. However, we are in Tennessee and conditions may vary where you live. I suggest you treat the knockouts just as you would your tea roses. Trim them only to shape and when they start blooming next season all you would have to do is simply deadhead. The only time you would trim the knockouts is to shape them the way you like.
QUESTION: “I saw your column in the newspaper and wondered if you would give me a suggestion. Our house is situated “catty-cornered” on a corner lot, on a slight hill, and right in the middle of the lower part of the yard is a 3 foot wide by 3 foot high electrical box. “When we moved in there was this huge clump of overgrown shrubs which had been there for 10 years. We had those taken out, but now I’m trying to figure out what to plant around it that will hide the box year-round, but be easy to maintain. Someone suggested some ornamental grasses. The spot is in full sun. I would also be interested in the web sites re: curb appeal.” — Amy Griffith
ANSWER: As far as hiding the box you can do any number of things. The best I have seen is where you try to incorporate it into the landscape so that it doesn’t look like you are just trying to hide a box. Grasses would work well but you may want to also incorporate something evergreen to hide and add interest year around. I have e-mailed you the list of Web sites about enhancing curb appeal. Other readers who would like a copy are welcome to send me an e-mail request.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to email@example.com and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org