What Is Safest Spray For Whatever Is Eating My Knockout Rose Bushes And Should Dead Flowers Be Pruned

Question From: B. Rogers - Wixom, Michigan, United States
Q: What is the safest pest control spray for whatever is eating the leaves of my rose bushes and do you recommend pruning the dead flowers from my knock out rose bushes. Thank you in advance!!

A: Your roses are probably being eaten by rose slugs, which are actually the larvae of sawflies. These tiny green caterpillar like bugs are usually found feasting the undersides of the leaves. A neem oil spray will knock them out and this product is environmentally friendly. Use it very early in the morning or at sundown when the bees have gone to bed. Be sure to hit the undersides of the leaves. There are many varieties of roses now sold under the Knock Out name. The original knockout did not need dead heading, but I have several double varieties that require it to keep the shrub roses looking tidy. Just "pop off the flowers". Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy