The Q&A Archives: Knock out roses

Question: I have three double knock out roses (zone 5) on the west side of my house. They had several dead branches from the winter and have done poorly this summer. Their leaves are being eaten by something and have bloomed very little. They just look horriable.

Answer: I'd prune the plants back now, and then prune them again next spring. Pruning will remove the dead and unsightly canes and leaves, and also encourage healthy new growth. Doing the same next spring will encourage healthy new growth, as well as removing winter dieback. Knock Out roses are ramblers and usually grow well even in adverse conditions. Try watering deeply once or twice each week and feeding in the spring (if you didn't feed then, feed now with a specialized rose fertilizer). Insects and diseases usually target plants under stress so if you improve the overall health of your roses, you should have fewer insect and diease problems. Hope this information helps!

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