Knockout Roses Have Lots Of Dead Stems And Yellow Leaves And Holes In Leaves

Question From: m. lyon - Frankfort, Kentucky, United States
Q: I have 10 knock roses and all are established. the larger ones all have a lot of die-back dead stems and yellow leaves and have been slow to have new growth. The smaller one has leaved out really well and is flowering but has many holes in the leaves. My question is do I cut the roses back hard now and fertilize and spray for diseases or leave them alone or what. Selective pruning of the dead branches takes too much time and the roses are so misshapen that I just hate doing it. Tx.

A: The choice is yours as far as pruning. The holes in the leaves are from rose slugs, small green worms. The season for them is almost over here in Michigan so I just ignore them. Fertilize your roses with a good organic fertilizer, such as Espoma Rose Tone and keep them well watered - 5 gallons of water a week, maybe more in high heat. 3 inches of good organic mulch will help keep their soil moist. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy