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Wal-Mart is Not Your Garden’s Friend: Iris in May?


Horticultural Warning: For those that may be interested in buying bulbs at Wal-mart…

While in the Plover, WI Wal-mart on Monday with my Mom, we happened to stroll down the aisle where they had bulbs/tubers/rhizomes — glads, canna, iris, etc. Among the selection of about 10 iris varieties were 2 Dutch Iris — “Miss Saigon” and “Eye of the Tiger”.

20170506_142747Miss Saigon

My first reaction at seeing any iris – Dutch, Siberian, Bearded, or otherwise – is that this is NOT the time of year to plant iris. You plant them in the late summer/early autumn.

Dutch Iris do not grow in Wisconsin — they are for the southern states. Further research on my part shows that “Miss Saigon” is for Zones 8-11 and “Eye of the Tiger” for Zones 6-9. Wisconsin is mostly Zone 3 and 4 with a bit of 5 in the southeastern part. (NOTE: Plover is a 4.) Just like the short day onions I wrote about previously, Wal-Mart just throws whatever on the shelves because most gardeners that shop at Wal-Mart do not have enough knowledge to know that they are being taken. Just because you are getting a good deal at the checkout counter does not mean that you are getting what you think you are getting. And Wal-Mart is NOT the only offender — I have seen the same in years past at Sam’s Club, ShopKo, KMart, Menards, Home Depot, and other big box chains are notorious for selling things that they -say- grow in your area, but a quick variety search online shows how much they have lied to you. By buying products that are not for your area, you have just wasted your money on what will be an expensive annual, plus you will likely tell everyone you know that you have a “black thumb” when it comes to gardening.

Miss Saigon 2Eye of the Tiger

If you want something reliable that will truly grow well, spend the extra few cents/dollars and go to a reputable horticultural seller. If you need advise on where to go, send me a message and I can send you info.

Please feel free to share this post with your friends.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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What roses to plant?


“What is the difference between, grandiflora, floribunda &hybrid tea roses? The areas that I have for roses, one area has sunlight from sunrise until around noon& the other area has sun form 2:00 until sunset, the roses I was looking at were, Rock&Roll,Twilight Zone, Sunshine Dream, Ketchup&Mustard,Angel Face,Champlain,Oso Happy Candy Oh, Double Knock Out, Smart& Sassy,Double Delight, Paradise Found, Red Drift, Home Run, Rainbow’s End, Ruby Ruby & Smoke Rings of these what would be best for Zone 5 with the amount of sunlight I discribed? Or maybe you have some other suggestion,I have places for 6 to 7 roses & also I’m looking for roses with not a lot of maintenance. Thank you,

John Zahn

Celina, Ohio”

 

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Hi John,

Thank you for the email regarding roses.  First, let’s start with the different types:

–Grandiflora:  Grandifloras (Latin for “large-flowered”) were the class of roses created in the mid-20th century to designate back-crosses between hybrid teas and floribundas that fit neither category – specifically, the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ rose, which was introduced in 1954. Grandiflora shrubs are typically larger than either hybrid teas or floribundas, and feature hybrid tea-style flowers borne in small clusters of three to five, similar to a floribunda. Grandifloras maintained some popularity from about the 1950s to the 1980s but today they are much less popular than either the hybrid teas or the floribundas. Examples: ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Comanche,’ ‘Montezuma’.
–Floribunda: Rose breeders quickly saw the value in crossing polyanthas with hybrid teas, to create roses that bloomed with the polyantha profusion, but with hybrid tea floral beauty and colour range. In 1909, the first polyantha/hybrid tea cross, ‘Gruss an Aachen,’ was created, with characteristics midway between both parent classes. As the larger, more shapely flowers and hybrid-tea like growth habit separated these new roses from polyanthas and hybrid teas alike, a new class was created and named floribunda, Latin for “many-flowering.” Typical floribundas feature stiff shrubs, smaller and bushier than the average hybrid tea but less dense and sprawling than the average polyantha. The flowers are often smaller than hybrid teas but are carried in large sprays, giving a better floral effect
in the garden. Floribundas are found in all hybrid tea colours and with the classic hybrid tea-shaped blossom, sometimes differing from hybrid teas only in their cluster-flowering habit. Today they are still used in large bedding schemes in public parks and similar spaces. Examples: ‘Anne Harkness’, ‘Dainty Maid’, ‘Iceberg’, ‘Tuscan Sun’.
–Hybrid Tea:  the favorite rose for much of the history of modern roses, hybrid teas were initially created by hybridising Hybrid Perpetuals with Tea roses in the late 19th century. ‘La France’, created in 1867, is universally acknowledged as the first indication of a new class of roses. Hybrid teas exhibit traits midway between both parents: hardier than the teas but less hardy than the hybrid perpetuals, and more ever-blooming than the hybrid perpetuals but less so than the teas. The flowers are well-formed with large, high-centered buds, and each flowering stem typically terminates in a single shapely bloom. The shrubs tend to be stiffly upright and sparsely foliaged, which today is often seen as a liability because it makes them more difficult to place in the garden or landscape. Hybrid teas became the single most popular garden rose of the 20th century; today, their reputation as high maintenance plants has led to a decline in popularity. The hybrid tea remains the standard rose of the floral industry, however, and is still favored in formal situations. Examples: ‘Peace’ (yellow), ‘Garden Party’ (white), ‘Mister Lincoln’ (red) and ‘Double Delight’ (bi-color cream and red).

Roses do like to have full sun, so neither of the locations you have is ideal.  However, the better of the two would be the one that has afternoon sun.

Of the rose you have picked, the Knock Out series of roses is probably one of the easiest and most forgiving type of roses on the market.  Other than that, the others you have listed would all do equally well.  No matter which type you go with, you are going to want to make sure that you have a good spraying cycle set up — roses that are in shade tend to have more disease problems.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cytospora Canker on Spruce


“Help!!! I have been trying to get help from Jung Seed, but I don’t seem to get anywhere with their customer service.  Here are the emails I have exchanged with them:

Me on 10/17/15:

I think we have a fungus that is killing our blue spruce trees we bought from you this spring at the Sun Prairie Garden Center.  The staff at your store directed me to contacting customer service.  Is there a treatment or spray that we could do to try to save the trees. Thank you for any help/suggestions.

Lori in Customer Service on 10/23/15:

Are you sure this is a fungus?  What does it look like and exactly what is happening to the trees?  What part of the tree is being affected?  I need more information in order assist you.  You cannot treat the symptoms without accurately without being sure what you are dealing with.  We will wait to hear from you.

Me on 10/23/15:

Thanks for the reply.  I suspect it’s a fungus because our area has had a problem with it.  I’ve attached some pictures.  The needles are dropping – seems like from the inside out and bottom up.

Cytospora 1 Cytospora 2

After this, I never heard anything back.  I resent the above email twice during the next week, and then called.  The person that answered the phone named Rachel seemed as clueless about spruce trees as anyone I had ever spoke to and told me that it was not a fungus but me not taking proper care of the tree.  If I had further questions about tree care, I should go ask the extension agent in my county.

We don’t have one in our county anymore and the local Master Gardeners field the questions until the vacancy is filled.  From my past experience, they don’t know much at all.  When I asked and explained what I had been told by Jung’s, the Master Gardener lady said she agreed with them because the people there are so knowledgeable and would not be wrong.  Sure…  So, I come to ask you since Jung’s thinks I am nuts and Master Gardeners are inexperienced and naive at best.

Thank you!

Myrna”

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Hi Myrna,

Thank you for the email regarding your blue spruce trees.  It looks like they are suffering from a fungal disease called Cytospora Canker.  Cytospora Canker is observed most often on older trees, especially those that are planted in poor sites. Trees weakened by environmental stresses, such as drought, freeze injury, or high temperatures, also are more susceptible to canker diseases. The Cytospora Canker fungus may attack many different species of hardwood trees, conifers, and shrubs.

Spruce trees infected with the Cytospora Canker fungus typically show scattered branch dieback, often starting on the lower branches. A close look at the dead branches usually reveals the presence of sticky white sap. Infected trees produce this resinous sap in response to the infection by the canker fungus.

The Cytospora fungus gains entrance into branches or twigs of trees through wounds or branch stubs. Over time, the fungus encircles or girdles branches, causing death. Brown needles can be observed on killed branches, but they eventually fall off, leaving bare branches.

As with many diseases, the best control for Cytospora Canker is prevention.  Plant trees in a good site, one that is well-drained and allows unrestricted growth as the tree matures. Adding mulch around trees increases overall health in many ways, including reducing competition from turfgrass. If dry conditions occur, water deeply if feasible. Any cultural practice that promotes good tree vigor helps prevent canker diseases.

Pruning out diseased branches is the primary means of treating trees showing symptoms of Cytospora Canker. Scout declining trees closely for cankers.  Prune at least 4-6 inches below any visible cankers. Some branches may need to be pruned back to the trunk. To minimize spread of the disease, prune only during dry weather. The fungal spores of Cytospora can be easily spread when conditions are wet. Fungicide sprays are generally not effective at controlling canker diseases.

For more information, I’ve included the local extension brochure on Cytospora Canker.  It can be found here:
http://vilaslandandwater.org/land_resources_pages/land_resources_lawn_n_garden/lawn_and_garden/trees_and_shrubs/evergreen_trees_shrubs/problems/a2639_cb
s_cytospora_canker.pdf

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Winter Protection for a Tree Rose


“Hello – this is the first year that I bought a Tree Rose.  I placed it near a main walkway in a condominium complex.  When maintenance shovels snow, they will most likely pile it up in the area where my rose tree is.  Can you recommend something that I can place around it in order to protect it?  Would it be alright to put a plastic pipe around it if it has enough room around it?  Please let me know……….thanks for any advice you can give me.

Nancy”

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Hello Nancy,

Thank you for your inquiry on winterizing your rose tree.  I understand that you are in Zone 6 New York, and as roses can be a bit finicky, it is best to give them a little bit of love and care and then bundle them up well.

Winter Tree RoseRemove all old mulch from under and around the roses; it might harbor insect eggs or disease spores from infected fallen leaves. Just before the first hard, or killing, frost of the season, spread fresh mulch of wood chips, shredded bark, or chopped leaves around the base of the plant, extending as far out as the branch tips. Wait until after the ground freezes to spread the mulch if rodents are a problem in the yard. Mice, especially, like to build their nests in mulch. Water the rose well, especially if it’s been through a dry summer.

There are a few items that you will need to help in the winterizing process:

— organic mulch (I recommend leaves from the yard)

— binder twine or heavy duty string

— burlap

— stakes (wood, bamboo, etc.).  You will need at least four, and possible more depending on the circumference of your rose. They should be just a bit taller than the height of the tree rose.

Begin by setting four stakes in the ground around the rose and just beyond the mulched root zone.  Wrap a protective barrier of burlap around the stakes and tie it in place with the twine (at least at the top, middle, and bottom with more in between as needed to accommodate for the height of the plant. Then fill in the middle with an insulating layer of dry leaves (pack them in so they are not loose and full of air pockets that can get cold). The rose is now shielded from harsh winds and should look kind of like an upright gunny sack of potatoes.

I hope this helps you out.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bull’s Eye: Container Rose?


“Is Bull’s Eye Rose suitable for a large container?

~Jill Rising”

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Hi Jill,

Thank you for the question regarding the Bull’s Eye Rose.  As I stated in a previous article earlier in 2014, while it is possible to grow a shrub-type rose in a pot, it is not ideal. Given that this is the second time I have been asked the same question, I am wondering if it is being sold as such by a vendor. If so, I am curious to know who!

The rule of thumb with shrub roses is that if you look at the area taken by the stems and leaves, imagine turning that upside down and putting it in the ground. That is a representation of what the network of main roots and hair roots look like below the ground.

Bull's Eye RoseI don’t want to say that it is impossible, but if it were me and my garden, I would not do it. Other roses like miniature or tea roses work much better in a large pot because they don’t have a well-developed root system.  That’s not to say that they are weaker or anything due to their roots, but more with that they are more developed and hybridized for the potential of being grown in a pot. Shrub roses are more closely related to the old-fashioned roses that grow out in the wilds with unlimited room to grow — both in terms or shoots and roots.

I hope this information helps you out. I’m sorry I don’t have a more positive answer for you, but I know how expensive roses are and I don’t want to steer you wrong and have you put a lot of work into something that likely won’t work well in the long run.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

Growing Bull’s Eye Rose in a Large Container


“Is a Bull’s Eye Rose suitable for a large container?

Ron”

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Hi Ron,

Thank you for your question regarding the Bull’s Eye Rose.  Container gardening is a great method for growing roses, as it brings the beauty and fragrance of roses into outdoor living spaces and right up to eye level. Potted roses can be grown in any sunny location: on a deck, terrace, patio or roof garden. It is a good option for anyone with limited garden space, poor soil or drainage problems, or apartment-bound gardeners. Bull's Eye Rose

Unfortunately, Bull’s Eye Rose is not a good choice for growing in a container.  Roses that work well in containers need to be 4 feet tall or under, as the height of the pot plus the height of the rose should not exceed a gardener’s height because one still needs to be able to easily care for and spray the rose. Bull’s Eye comes in at around 4-5 feet. When you add that to the height of the pot that would be needed (around 30-36 in tall), you have a rose that would be about 7-8 feet tall. It’s just not a feasible plan.

I hope this information helps you out. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

Invicta Gooseberry with Disease? Or Something Entirely Different?


“I saw your post the other day about the gentleman from Bloomer, WI that had issues with his Ben Sarek currants from Jung Seed, and I wanted to ask you about my bare root gooseberry that I received from them via the mail. It was supposed to be an Invicta gooseberry, but the leaves are not the traditional lobed leaf that you see on a gooseberry, and it has some disease. I called the company, and they said that sometimes the first set of leaves that come out are not true leaves, but the second set of leaves will be the true leaves that will look more like a gooseberry. It may also be how they grow here in Maine. I’ve grown other varieties of gooseberry and I’ve never had different types of leaves. And why would something grow different in Maine? That sounds fishy! Or am I wrong? I have since moved the “gooseberry” to a pot and away from the rest of my gooseberries so that it will not give them its disease. Please help!

Janice”

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Hi Janice,

Thank you for your post and for emailing me the photo. This story just makes me shake my head for a number of reasons:

1. True leaves on a woody plant versus non true leaves?!?!? I’m a seasoned old horticulturist that has a degree in botany too. If it is a plant that grows in garden, I know it inside and out. The only thing I can think of here is that the person you spoke to is confusing cotyledons with true leaves? Maybe? I don’t know… Or that when a bud breaks, like on a maple tree, there is a small modified leaf that covers the bud with the leaves and blossom inside and is kind of short near the base and quickly dies? But still, gooseberries do not have those.  Sorry, but I think the customer service person you spoke with didn’t have a clue as to what they were saying, but was trying to sound very educated and like they knew what they were talking about.

2. The leaves above are NOT a gooseberry (Invicta or otherwise) and the future leaves never will be either. This plant is a LILAC!!!

3.  As for the disease, it looks like Edema.  Edema is a problems that occurs under cool, wet conditions when the soil is warmer than the atmosphere. Edema happens when the roots take up more water than the plant loses through transpiration (water loss through pores on the leaf surface called stomata), thus resulting in accumulation of water in the intercellular spaces of the leaf tissue. The excess water accumulation causes the leaf cells to enlarge and expand to a point where they block the stomatal openings.  At some point, the cells become so large that they pop like an overinflated balloon. The remaining damaged cell tissue turns brown and crusty and multiple broken cells for spots like those seen in your photo.

 

If it were me, I would demand a correct replacement or my money back. If you haven’t already, send this picture in to them. Any horticulturist or plant buyer on staff SHOULD know the difference!

 

I hope this information helps you out. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.