Buying Knockout Roses

Bamadude01March 18, 2014

About to buy 20 double knockout roses and needing to know what to look for when I hand select each plant. I am buying from a local nursery. This is my first time buying rose bushes. Also, would like some advice on what potting soil to use and fertilizer. Thanks in advance!

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I have knock outs around my flag pole and they are very hardy. I would pick plants that are healthy and green. I usually put some good potting or garden soil in the hole and feed it some of your favorite fertilizer and then water frequently for a few weeks till the roots are established and they will bloom like crazy for you. I grow other roses as well besides knock outs but I love my knock outs because they make a great hedge. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 6:36PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Are you potting all these or planting them? Where are you located? Zone? Are they potted at the nursery or bare rooted? All these thing could make a difference in what to do.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 6:38PM
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thanks for the replies! I am planting all of the knockouts along my fence to make a hedge. I went to my local nursery the other day and looked at the KO roses they had and some had thick bases and some did not. I know the answer to my question but just wanted another source of info before I buy and what to look in buying KO. These are all potted plants. I am in zone 7b in Alabama. Thanks for the help and I am already learning more and more about the hedging of roses!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Unless your native soil is absolutely deplorable, it is not recommended that you use a potting soil or other amendment when planting. Unless, that is, you are going to dig up and prepare the entire bed. Plants simply do better when planted into native soil.

I wish that there was someone local that you could talk to about Knock Out roses in your area. In my location (Huntsville), they are few and far between today, though they were planted everywhere a few short years ago.

Knock Out has proved to be a terrible disappointment due to its susceptibility to a virus called Rose Rosette Disease. We jumped on the Knock Out bandwagon a few years ago; two years later we had to rip them all out. They sure were gorgeous while they lasted, but the virus spread rapidly with the aid of the disease vector, a nearly microscopic eriophyid mite.

Be smart and some research on RRD on Knock Outs before you plan on buying. If what you learn doesn't alarm you, then at least you've done your homework.

Your local extension office might be a good place to obtain some local advice.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:49PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

How long is the fence? Knock Out can get really big here, 7' x 3' if not pruned back.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

It makes no difference if your soil is terrible or not, you don't want to amend individual planting holes or other small areas for plants of any size and permanence because of how movement into and out of the amended area is affected.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:01PM
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I'm not really that experienced with roses at all, but I do have a knock out rose.

I bought it for my grandma on mother's day back in 2012. It was about 10 inches tall with some leaves and one or 2 unopened buds on it. My grandma was actually kinda sad cause "that's just a stick with leaves!!!"

Not knowing anything about roses, I planted it in full sun.

I live in Alabama, so our summers get in the 90s. So I have to water it more than my other rose bush which is in the shade.

However, it has flourished! It's about 3 feet tall, 3 feet wide. Last year I'm pretty sure it bloomed a thousand times. It was covered in blooms all year.

I didn't prune it, which I probably should have done, but I will this winter.

The rosette disease I've never heard of.

I've not had any issues with any pests at all in this rose bush, unlike my other rose bush which has only bloomed twice in 5 years. (it grows tons of foliage but no blooms, and the few buds that do try to open up rot.)

Here's some pics .... :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:09PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Very pretty, Deserai. Good looking bushes--they way they are supposed to look.

I wouldn't be overly alarmed about the Rose Rosette Disease in connection with Knock Outs. My understanding is that the KOs are no more susceptible to it than is any other rose out there. The reason it appears to some people that KOs are more susceptible is that KOs tend to be planted in larger masses in public places and then totally ignored until one day, a couple years later, the owner looks out and says what is that ugly red growth out there? Then he/she leaves it growing there and it slowly spreads to a number of the bushes in the mass planting--the result, a mess, a disaster! Because they are planted en masse, its mess is more obvious than it would be if a single bush by itself got RRD.

The moral of this story is, take care of and keep a regular eye on ALL roses (not just KOs). If really weird ugly red growth and witches broom is spotted early when it appears, you can IMMEDIATELY chop up the entire bush and dig up all the roots, carefully seal in a trash bag, and toss in the garbage (not in your compost pile however). If that is done promptly and early, the chances of the disease spreading to the other roses is minimal and perhaps nonexistent.

RRD has been a problem in a number of growing areas in recent years. If you do nothing about it--QUICKLY--it can be a garden disaster. However, ALL roses share the same risk. It is not just KOs that are at such risk--and the risk has to do with owners ignoring the roses and doing nothing about the RRD growth if it does appear, in my opinion.


This post was edited by dublinbay on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 10:44

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:17AM
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Since I am attempting to do a hedge row, I will till up the ground. Doing this will help me alot and make it somewhat quicker to plant! My fence line is 180ft but will not use all of it for KO's. Thanks for the heads up rhizo! Desirai, thanks for the pics! And thank you everybody for the info and help! I will add some pics of my backyard. This was taking last year and some parts are changed a bit. The pic with the half moon flowerbed, I am thinking about planting pink muhly grass on both sides of that flowerbed. In the corner pic, I am thinking about planting confederate jasmine with a concrete bench (also, the azalea plant on the right has been removed. That is where I am putting the bench). Also I have removed all plants in the half moon flowerbed. Anymore suggestion of help would be great, Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Center yard

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:24PM
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Other side of yard

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:25PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

I think it will look lovely!
I am north of you in nashville, and want to agree with the above poster that they will get huge ! So don't plant them right up to the fence. They are about 7 ft tall here and about that wide. So either plan to prune or space accordingly! You may not need as many as you planned.. And can spend the money on other fun things for your backyard! :)
Also wanted to add the yellow ones have a light fragrance that smells great if you have a lot !

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:43PM
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My KO s have been healthy and are thriving in the Texas summers which can be brutal. They do get very large as the others have mentioned. Your yard is going to be beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:41PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Lovely roses, Desirai! Don't worry about that full sun. Roses love sun and need at least 6 hours and prefer 8 hours a day. If it's excessively hot you can always provide a little shade for them if necessary.

Bama, when choosing your plants look for ones that have 3 to 5 good canes coming from the base. They should be at least as thick as a pencil in diameter. Check the canes all the way up for any damage too. They should be nice and plump and green. If these are grafted you want well branched plants that are growing straight and not off to one side if possible. You also don't want ones where the graft is way up on the top of a shaft above the root system. In your zone you don't have to worry about burying the grafts but a shorter shank is always easier to plant. If they are own root those shouldn't be a consideration.

Tilling the whole bed is your best bet. It will break up the soil nicely and the plants will do better for it. You probably should have a soil test done before you add anything to your soil. Adding things you don't need is just a waste. When you plant them dig big holes and check the drainage before planting them. Roses don't like sitting in wet soil that doesn't drain well. Dig the holes, fill them with water and wait about an hour to see if the holes drained at all in that time. If not you may be on clay and will need to break that layer up or plant in raised beds. Once they're planted keep them well watered but not drowning and don't fertilize them until you have new growth on them. Some people even say to not fertilize until after the first bloom flush.

You have a lovely yard and the roses should look beautiful for you!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:05PM
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Thanks Seil! Thats the kind of stuff I am needing to know! And thanks for the replies! I will do an after pic in the near future!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:24AM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

Tilling up the entire bed and mixing in some compost is what I would do if I could do it easily. Putting a good layer of mulch on the surface every spring helps too. It breaks down over time and helps the soil and it helps keep the soil moist.

RRD is probably more common in knockout than other roses since knockouts tend to be bushier and healthier than other roses. I've found RRD to be more common on healthy roses than sick ones. If you spot RRD early, you typically don't need to get rid of the entire bush. Cut the infected cane down about a foot below where the RRD symptoms appear and most of the time the bush will be OK. If you have it in more than one location, then get rid of the bush as the infection is probably systemic.

I was at a pagoda in Northern Virginia a couple of weeks ago and they had maybe 15 rose bushes. All of them had RRD. Some were almost 100% infected. I tried to tell them they needed to get rid of all the bushes and then wait a few weeks before planting new ones. They just smiled. I'm not sure if they'll do anything.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 2:24PM
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I have abt. 8 KO roses and count on them for constant color...however, be aware that they are a magnet for Chili-thrips... they are my 'canary in the coal-mine', and it gets so bad in the summer I was ready to rip them out! I attended a meeting at FSC in Lakeland of the rose society, and we discussed what to do, the advice was Imidicloprid...Bayer makes a product both liquid and granular that you apply in March, it's good for 12 I am going to try it..on the KOs also Belinda's Dream and the Don Juans, and several other roses that Chili-thrips's strange because I now have roses that are not bothered by them, mostly China, Noisette, some old Teas.... so we shall see how it goes, I sure hope this stuff works I don't want to dig up any of my garden....sally

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:46PM
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