Crow wing County Master Gardener Program
Ask the Master Gardener - JULY 2014 Column
Dear Master Gardener,
I have pink and red and white roses but would like to add a yellow one that would be hardy in the Brainerd Lakes area. What would you recommend?
Fortunately there are several hardy yellow roses to choose among. “Hardy” does not mean there will be no dieback at all. It can mean that there will be some minimal dieback or that it will sometimes die back to the crown but will come back as spring progresses. Some bloom only in June; others have repeat bloom in the fall and others bloom continuously all summer. Among your choices are ‘Brook Song’, ‘Fruhlingsgold’, ‘Golden Wings’, ‘Harrison’s Yellow’, ‘J.P. Connell’, ‘Prairie Harvest’, and ‘Wildenfels Gelb’. A local nursery will likely carry other yellow roses, too. A newer rose, ‘Bill Reid’, hardy in zone 3, has been receiving praise from Minnesota Master Gardeners.
For more detailed information on specific roses, such as bloom time, fragrance, need for winter protection, bloom size and form, go to the internet or consult the book “Growing Roses in Cold Climates,” written by Minnesota rose specialists.
Dear Master Gardener,
I would like to put sod down to get an instant lawn and was wondering if you have recommendations for greater success, since this is quite an investment.
There are advantages to sod over seeding, such as the rapid establishment of an “instant lawn” and relatively weed-free start. It is good for slopes or areas prone to erosion and it can be laid any time during the growing season. As you stated, the disadvantage is the expense.
Purchase sod as fresh as possible, preferably having been cut no more than 24 hours before delivery. Lay it as soon as possible, or within one day of delivery. Lay the sod on slightly moistened soil, staggering the joints much like bricklaying. If you are laying it on a slope, lay the rolls across the slope and stake each piece to hold it in place. Fill any cracks with soil to prevent edges from drying. You may use a roller about one-third full of water to smooth the site and ensure the roots of the sod have good contact with the soil.
Keep the sod moist but not saturated until it is firmly rooted in the soil, which takes a few days to a few weeks, then gradually reduce watering. In two to three months it can be treated as an established lawn.
Dear Master Gardener,
My peony plant only has a few flowers. What could be wrong?
Typically when a peony fails to form buds or flowers, it has been planted too deeply or it is in too much shade. Sometimes when a clump has remained undisturbed for ten years or more it may be so crowded that it may fail to bloom. If you think any of these reasons pertains to you, dig it up and replant it. When you plant, cover the peony roots so the pink buds or “eyes” are pointing up. Make sure to plant the top of the roots only one and one-half to two inches beneath the soil line. Peonies prefer full sun, but will bloom as long as they receive four or five hours of direct sun daily. Plant them in well-drained soil.
You can divide peonies in early spring or late summer. Dig up the entire clump, then split it into halves or quarters with a sharp knife or shovel. Young plants or divisions that have three “eyes” or less won’t bloom until they are older and larger.
Do not cut down peony foliage until it is damaged by frost. Once the soil freezes, simply rake some leaves over the plants, then remove the mulch in spring.
JULY GARDEN TIPS
• Because mosquitoes are plentiful this year, plan your gardening time to avoid them. Mosquitoes are least active when it’s sunny and breezy, most active at dusk. Use insect repellant containing DEET and wear light-colored clothing.
• To avoid having wormy apples, start your spray program in early July to control apple maggots. Spray every 10-14 days until harvest, or two days after each rainfall of ½ inch or more.
• It’s time to water your lawn when grass does not spring right back up after you walk on it. Water early in the day to limit evaporation.
• The time you take to remove spent blossoms is well worth it. Deadheading promotes continued bloom and prevents seed formation.
• To keep peas and beans producing keep picking them, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, too.
• When tomatoes start to bloom, side dress them with a little extra fertilizer. Too much fertilizer, however, promotes leafy growth at the expense of blossoms and fruit. Container-grown tomatoes, like other container-grown vegetables and flowers, need fertilizer every two to three weeks.
• Visit a local farmers’ market for freshest produce. Support local economy.
• When lettuce, spinach and other spring crops bolt or turn bitter, remove them and use the space for a fall crop of cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage and onions.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Crow Wing County Master Gardeners are trained and certified volunteers for the University of Minnesota Extension. All information given in this column is based on research and information provided by the University. To ask a question, call the Master Gardener Help Line at 218-824-1000, extension 4040 and leave a message. A Master Gardener will return your call.
Visit our welcome page: http://cwcmastergardeners.areavoices.com/ “The Gardener’s Table:” will be available for purchase for $10.00 each at the following events this summer: Northland Arboretum’s Country Sampler Picnic on July 16, Nisswa Flower Show on July 30, Crow Wing County Fair from July 29 to August 2. – See more at: http://cwcmastergardeners.areavoices.com/2014/06/23/the-moon-garden-free-class-on-july-8/#sthash.3dfAlnzs.dpuf
UMN Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ Website:
Ask the Master Gardener July 2014
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