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I live in Northern Virginia and am concerned about possible heavy snow damaging two knockout rosebushes this winter. Is it okay to trim them slightly now with a bigger trim at the beginning of spring? I don't want to stimulate new growth now if that's the wrong thing to do.

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As I'm not a native English speaker: what are "knockout rosebushes"? – Christoph Mühlmann Nov 30 '11 at 9:49
@ChristophMühlmann I wasn't aware of them either. I've added a link to a site which has some explanation. Seems they're an American invention and a registered trademark. Apparently easy to grow and resistant to disease. – Tea Drinker Dec 28 '11 at 14:40
@Tea Drinker: It seems that they are available in Europe as "Meidiland" Roses. – Christoph Mühlmann Dec 29 '11 at 11:30

It is okay to cut out damaged wood in winter. If you do, be sure to coat any cut with a diameter of 1/2 " or more with a protective paint to keep in water and to keep out disease. They will save their new growth for spring.

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protective paint is not as important, as many people are thinking. It's much more important to desinfect the tools you are using for trimming the bushes, at least every time you move from one bush to the next one. You can use spiritus. A possible side-effect of using protective paint may be, that diseases (f.e. spores) may be transferred from rose-bush to rose-bush by the secateur you are using. The spores are hidden under the paint, growing there (not every fungicide helps against every fungus). And the paint may inhibit the growth of the callus tissue, which is closing the wound. – Christoph Mühlmann Dec 29 '11 at 11:41

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