Winter Damage of Knock Out Roses
I have 6 Knock Out roses that were planted three years ago and keep getting better every year without winter protection. That is until now. They do not look good and have lots of brown leaves on them from last year. Was 2007-2008 a harder Great Lakes winter on our plants? What can I do?
Winter moved into our area quickly last fall. I remember raking leaves in the morning and shoveling snow in the afternoon. Then in January the snow melted, temperatures dropped and the plants were unprotected until the snow returned. This took its toll on many of our normally hardy plants including hardy shrub roses. Fortunately their roots usually survive such harsh conditions and the plants send up new healthy growth. Start by pruning off any dead wood. Some or all the canes may need to be cut back to just above ground level. Dead stems are often discolored on the outside and the inside of the cane is brown instead of a healthy white. My Knock Out rose took a beating a couple years ago and had to be pruned back to several inches above ground level. Happily they recovered quickly and provided a summer of beautiful blooms.