Roses forum: Knockout Rose Bush Looking Grim - Please help!?

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rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 11:03 AM CST
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!
Thumb of 2017-03-27/rdck99/f74735
Thumb of 2017-03-27/rdck99/a7abe5

N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
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Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 11:46 AM CST
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.

rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 1:37 PM CST
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!
N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
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Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 1:50 PM CST
Loose soil, maybe foundation sand?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Mar 27, 2017 3:06 PM CST
Do you have gophers where you live? They love to eat rose roots.
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Mar 27, 2017 3:18 PM CST
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.
N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
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Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 3:29 PM CST
@porkpal is 12-12-12 to high? Would Bayer systemic rose and flower care (6-9-6) be appropriate?

rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 5:01 PM CST
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.
N. Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bookworm The WITWIT Badge Moon Gardener Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
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Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 5:54 PM CST
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?

rdck99
Mar 27, 2017 5:58 PM CST
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
N. Ohio (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)
Tisha
Mar 27, 2017 6:31 PM CST
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

rdck99
Mar 28, 2017 7:48 AM CST
[Last edited by rdck99 - Mar 28, 2017 2:47 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1399627 (12)
N. Ohio (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)
Tisha
Mar 28, 2017 2:09 PM CST
post 12 is repeat of post 10. Did you read post 11?

rdck99
Mar 28, 2017 2:48 PM CST
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!
N. Ohio (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)
Tisha
Mar 28, 2017 3:40 PM CST
No problem. I`ll bet you`re WAY ahead of me when it comes to tech. than I am Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Mar 29, 2017 2:07 PM CST
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.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Mar 30, 2017 4:08 AM CST
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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