Two weeks ago at our Master Gardener training class Dr. Jim Jacobi, an Auburn pathologist, discussed the many diseases–viral and bacterial, etc. that can afflict our beloved plants. One of those that really caught my attention was Rose Rosette disease. This is not a new disease but due to the widespread use of Knockout Roses in landscapes the plant pathologists are seeing a huge rise in outbreaks of this disease. Knockout Roses appear to be very susceptible to this disease. It is spread by a mite on wild roses but the mites are finding our Knockouts and having a field day. Symptoms of RRD are witches broom on the rose stem, red pigmentation of new growth, and excessive thorns. Before you completely panic, new growth on all Knockouts is red but when you have RRD the growth stays red. Up in North Alabama hundreds of roses were taken out of a park. There is no chemical to treat this disease. The only way to rid your garden of it is to get rid of the rose–root and all. Then throw it away, do not compost it. The disease is in the branches so good hygiene is really essential when you prune your roses. Clippers should be cleaned with chlorox.
Pay careful attention to the next sentence. If you are concerned you may have RRD in your garden, do not start tearing your hair and roses out. Please take a sample down to the great folks at our Calhoun County Extension Office and let them send the sample to the pathology lab.
Here is a link to a very informative article:
PUBLICATION 450-620. Rose Rosette Disease. Chuan Hong, Extension Plant Pathologist, Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center ...
Our Master Gardener intern class recently had a soils class with Auburn professor, Dr. Charles Mitchell. Good soil is the backbone of a garden, whether that garden contains vegetables or flowers or whether the soil supports a beautiful stand of grass. When we talk about soil we are not talking about dirt (which is soil with all the nutrients and other good stuff removed) but about the soil.
Soils can vary from one neighborhood to another and even from one house to another. Since some plants thrive in a more acid soil (like azaleas and gardenias) and others thrive in lower acid soils (lilac), it is important to know more about the soil you have in your garden. Thus, the first thing all Master Gardeners (as well as any Extension Agent) will recommend when asked most plant questions, especially as the question relates to fertilizer, is that the homeowner do a soil test. It is very easy, relatively inexpensive, and the best thing you can do for your yard and soil and even for the environment. A soil test costs way less than a bag of fertilizer. Phosphorous in fertilizers can end up in the groundwater eventually polluting our waterways. Too much of the wrong kind of fertilizer can even hamper the health of your grass or your plants or your vegetables. If someone comes in and wants to fertilize your lawn without a soil test, just say no. Be an educated consumer. Get a soil test first.
Soil test kits may be obtained from your County Extension Office.
Feb. 18, Monday, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m, Calhoun County Beautification Board Tree Give-away at Golden Springs (Fred's Dept. Store)
Feb. 21, Thursday, 3:30 p.m., Arbor Day Celebration at JSU International House
Feb. 22, Friday, 3 p,m to 5 p.m., Tree Give-away on the Jacksonville Square
April 20, Saturday, 8 a.m. until noon, Master Gardener Tree Amigos 4-H Plant Sale, Cane Creek Community Gardens at McClellan
April 24, Lunch and Learn (4th Wednesday of each month thru September), noon to 1 p.m. Cane Creek Community Gardens, McClellan. First program is "Batty about Bats" and Vicky Smith from A to Z Animals is bringing bats for her presentation.
May 3, Friday, noon to 3 p.m. and Saturday May 4th, 9 until 2 p.m., Master Gardener 4H Tree Amigos Volunteers and the Anniston Museum of Natural History Volunteers Plant Sale at the Longleaf Botanical Gardens
Jacksonville Garden Club Plant Sale, date TBA
Someone said to me the other day that he guessed it was hard to make the garden inviting this time of the year. The winter garden does not have to be boring; it can be just as beautiful as the summer garden. Camellias, daffodils, mahonias, pansies, berries, bark, and even the form of bare branches can make the winter landscape as wonderful as your summer one. Join me at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County for a program on the winter garden, Tuesday, January 22 at 2 pm in the Ayers Room. The program is free.
Come learn about the glory of winter.