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Avatar for rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 11:03 AM CST
Thread OP

Hello, my knockout rose bush is looking pretty rough and I'm hoping for some help. I know virtually nothing about keeping/maintaining plants (up until recently, a neighbor would always help tend to my landscape), so please let me know if there's info I'm not providing that could be helpful.

What I do know: I planted it about 7 years ago, it sits in front of a west-facing part of the house, as you can maybe see in the pictures, it only has leaves on the top and left, with a small patch on the lower front and there are 3 different colors of branching - greyish/thicker part, a brownish/red and a green. Not sure the difference of the different parts, but parts of the smaller, grey branches snap off, seemingly dead.

Any idea why I'm seeing this odd growth of new leaves and how can I correct, so it grows fuller?

Thanks for any help!
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Avatar for Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 11:46 AM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Vermiculture Frogs and Toads Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Welcome!
Think positive.
Could be as simple as a spring prune, a little fertilizer, a little mulch, and a cool drink of cool H2O.
We`ll wait for other opinions. Mean time, look at leaves both top and undersides. See any little bugs or odd shaped leaves? I thought the greenery looked good.Others know better.
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Avatar for rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 1:37 PM CST
Thread OP

Tisha said: Welcome!
Think positive.
Could be as simple as a spring prune, a little fertilizer, a little mulch, and a cool drink of cool H2O.
We`ll wait for other opinions. Mean time, look at leaves both top and undersides. See any little bugs or odd shaped leaves? I thought the greenery looked good.Others know better.


Thanks for the reply. No bugs that I can see. A friend said to get a 12/12/12 fertilizer, so I'll do that too. Just gave a good pruning. Lots of dead branches now gone, but the plant itself is rather loose in the ground. A good pull, and the whole plant would probably come up from the ground. Thanks again!
Avatar for Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 1:50 PM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Vermiculture Frogs and Toads Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Loose soil, maybe foundation sand?
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Avatar for porkpal
Mar 27, 2017 3:06 PM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Charter ATP Member Keeper of Poultry I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Keeps Horses
Roses Plant Identifier Farmer Raises cows Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
Do you have gophers where you live? They love to eat rose roots.
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Mar 27, 2017 3:18 PM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Irises Lilies Roses Region: Southwest Gardening
It would be helpful to know your USDA zone and which side of the building the rose is on.
Given the gravel mulch, my guess is that among its many challenges is compacted soil that's also depleted of organic material; but it clearly needs pruning. If gophers are involved, there's a good bet it's a goner.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Avatar for Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 3:29 PM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
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@porkpal is 12-12-12 to high? Would Bayer systemic rose and flower care (6-9-6) be appropriate?
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Avatar for rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 5:01 PM CST
Thread OP

Steve812 said:It would be helpful to know your USDA zone and which side of the building the rose is on.
Given the gravel mulch, my guess is that among its many challenges is compacted soil that's also depleted of organic material; but it clearly needs pruning. If gophers are involved, there's a good bet it's a goner.


Thank you! No gophers. I'm in STL, so Zone 6A it looks like. The rose bush/that side of the building faces the west.
Avatar for Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 5:54 PM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Vermiculture Frogs and Toads Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
West side of building, with no tree south of it to cast shade, should give the rose its` required amount of sun. Other roses might not like am shade in humid climates.Don`t think knock-outs are one of them.
Foundation sand? If not gently press ground down with your foot may tell us why it`s loose.
I`m tired, where is STL?
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Avatar for rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 5:58 PM CST
Thread OP

Tisha said:West side of building, with no tree south of it to cast shade, should give the rose its` required amount of sun. Other roses might not like am shade in humid climates.Don`t think knock-outs are one of them.
Foundation sand? If not gently press ground down with your foot may tell us why it`s loose.
I`m tired, where is STL?


There's a tree SW of it, but still gets pretty good sun in the afternoon.

What do you mean by foundation sand and how pressing down may tell why it's loose? Sorry, I'm tired too :)

And STL = St. Louis, MO
Avatar for Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 6:31 PM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Vermiculture Frogs and Toads Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Some dewllings have sand around foundation, for drainage I guess. Anchor root in sand with decorative stones on top would make me a little woozy too. May need some soil adjustment. Press down gently. Could just be seasonal soil heaving.
In general think off to a good referbushing of `rosie`.
Till next time Thumbs up
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Avatar for rdck99
Mar 28, 2017 7:48 AM CST
Thread OP

Last edited by rdck99 Mar 28, 2017 2:47 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for Tisha
Mar 28, 2017 2:09 PM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Vermiculture Frogs and Toads Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
post 12 is repeat of post 10. Did you read post 11?
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Avatar for rdck99
Mar 28, 2017 2:48 PM CST
Thread OP

Tisha said:post 12 is repeat of post 10. Did you read post 11?


I did, thanks, Tisha. Not sure how the double post happened, but I saw that too and didn't know how to delete. Thanks!
Avatar for Tisha
Mar 28, 2017 3:40 PM CST
(Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Vermiculture Frogs and Toads Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
No problem. I`ll bet you`re WAY ahead of me when it comes to tech. than I am Rolling on the floor laughing
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Mar 29, 2017 2:07 PM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Irises Lilies Roses Region: Southwest Gardening
At the risk of repeating most of the many good ideas from Tisha and porkpal...

I grew Knockout in zone 6b in NJ, planted north of a row of cedar trees. I think it got 6 or 7 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day during the summer. It was very happy for the five or six years until I moved. I did apply four or five inches of good organic mulch every year, and some supplemental water during dry spells

If this were my plant, I would trim away at least half of the old wood, right to the ground. Then I'd thin out the rest of the canes to achieve a pleasing shape (as much as possible.) I'd clear away the gravel, and possibly two inches of soil, then lay down at least four inches of good organic mulch. Then I'd probably apply about two pounds of Mills Magic organic fertilizer, mixing it into the mulch. Then water. Finally, I'd go out in the late afternoon and see how much that tree to the southwest is filtering what little light the rose has a chance of getting. If it is not getting solid five or six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight in May through August, its probably suffering from that.

I might suggest being a bit of a maniac about making sure it gets adequate moisture at least until new foliage has hardened off, say mid June. Make sure it doesn't get too dry during the dog days of summer. Then maybe give it a bit of extra water again in August as you observe it setting new leaves.

I'm always a bit leery of adding too much artificial fertilizer because this can kill beneficial orgnisms in the soil, causing plants to become over-dependent on artificial fertilizer; but I think that adding some time-released Osmocote might be part of a good solution here.

I hope this is helpful. Good Luck.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
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Mar 30, 2017 4:08 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Bulbs Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Roses
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
I agree with the above advise to give it a hard pruning. I tend to mostly ignore the Knockouts in my garden and about every 3 years they start looking much like yours, and then I give them a hard pruning.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
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