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Gardening Q and A

August 4, 2010 4:17:34 AM PDT
Chalet Nursery's Jennifer Brennan answers your Facebook gardening questions.

#1 - Ruth Upham : My carpet roses leaves keep turning yellow and falling off?

The roses come back and grow new leaves and they are flowering but now that they have filled back out I see the bottom leaves starting to turn yellow again. What am I doing wrong with these to much water or not enough? The leaves of her carpet roses keep turning yellow and falling off. They are flowering but the lower leaves continue to turn yellow. She is worried that she is doing something wrong.

Answer: This one is blamed on Mother Nature - too much rain at the end of June (9 days in a row) caused roots to drowned, then immediately afterwards it got too hot. Plants had to "balance their check-books" by getting rid of some of the older leaves. But before they had to "jump overboard", the plants said, "Empty your pockets and give us your nitrogen". That's why the leaves turn yellow, the plant is moving the nitrogen around to the stronger, younger leaves. The best solution is using a transplanting solution that is developed to encourage root growth. My favorite is Root & Grow by Bonide (40 ounce bottle for $12.99). Use 3 ounces in a gallon of water now and again in October.

#2 - Pat Hartnell Rickenberger: Roses: fungus with yellow leaves, sometimes with black spots. Even shrub roses, not just teas & the climber, have them this year. Have fed them twice this season. Also, huge beetles eating tea roses. It's been a weird growing year with unusual weather/rain conditions for northern IL. Losing leaves. Lots of growth but not so many blooms.

All of her roses (Hybrid Teas, Climbers and Shrub Roses) are suffering with black spot (a fungal leaf disease) and Japanese Beetles. She thinks this is a "weird growing season with unusual weather /rain conditions for Northern Illinois." She has lots of growth but not many blooms.

Answer: Pat is correct is blaming the strange weather combinations for effecting her roses. She has more black spot because of the rain and heat. She has fewer flowers because of the temperatures in the upper 80's and 90's. We usually have 6 days per summer with days over 90 (TRACY WILL YOU VERIFY THIS NUMBER FOR ME?). We just finished July with 28 days in a row above 80. Plants just transpire (letting water flow through their leaves to keep cooler) and do not metabolize making new plant parts like flowers when temperatures are over 85. The best solution for Pat is a great product from Bayer called "All in One". It has a fertilizer, an insecticide and a fungicide used as a drench at the root zone. All are systemic, staying in the plant even if it rains. It lasts 6 weeks, protecting the roses until the end of the season.

#3 - Kim Mattox: We recently bought a mobile home & the previous owner planted a 5ft long section of peonies right smack in the middle of the backyard. We'd like to thin them out & move them, but we're not sure how to do it. Can you help?

She wants to move a 5 foot row of peonies.

Answer: August is the best month to transplant and divide spring blooming perennials. Peonies do not like to be moved, but if you have to do it; cut the tops back by 1/3, dig up the root ball, cut in half or quarters and replant so that the eyes (the buds for next year) are 2 inches below the surface of the soil. Always remember the saying about transplanted perennials and how quickly they return to bloom: "The first year they sleep, the second year the creep and the third year they leap." So don't be disappointed if they do not bloom next spring, give them time to get their roots established.

#4 - Sean Daleiden: How can I treat my crab grass I am getting this season?

Answer: Crabgrass loves hot temperatures and hot soil, so with all the rain in June and the high temperatures in July, we are seeing more of it. It is an annual grassy weed, which means it will die with the first frost. But, it makes millions of seeds. There are good weed killers called Bayer Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer, and Bonide Weed Beater Plus (look for an active ingredient called Quinclorac) that will get rid of the crabgrass and any other weed. More importantly, be prepared to use a pre-emergent weed preventer next spring - Corn Gluten Meal or Halts by Scotts.

#5- Ana Berrios: recently i planted a tomato plant on one of those gadget they anounced on tv.the plan is growing but my question is how much son should the plan get? because some of the leave are getting yelllow and brown.so i dont know it is the sun or the rain.please advise.my first time on growing vegetables.

Has an upside down hanging tomato planter for the first time trying to grow tomatoes and needs advice.

Answer: Tomatoes need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Hanging containers need to be watered daily in hot temperatures. Tomatoes need fertilizer. My favorite for those hanging planters is Fertisorb, the fertilizer embedded in the acrylic polymer. It helps to keep the soil moist and provides the fertilizer for 4 months (all summer long). All you need to do is put it in a sunny location.

Chalet Nursery
3132 Lake Ave.
Wilmette
chaletnursery.com


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