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Problem & Solution
November/December 2014

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Rooting Roses
Problem: My husband gave me some Pink Intuition roses last week and they are gorgeous. Today when I went to snip off the ends again I noticed new leaf growth at each node. Not all of them, but most of them. Will these stems grow if they were put into potting soil, or am I wasting my time if I do that?

Irene Peterson

Solution: It is possible to start roses from hardwood cuttings in the fall but don’t expect that new growth to continue growing once you have removed the cuttings from the main plant. In fact, try to select stems that are not sprouting new growth. Dip the ends of the cuttings in water, then in hormone rooting powder and place in growing media (good potting soil will work) and keep moist. The cuttings should develop roots and be ready for stepping up to a larger container or setting out in the garden next spring.

Walking Iris
Problem: These photos show something unusual that is happening with my iris plants. Note how the plants are developing new plants up in the air. Can you tell me what is going on with my Irises?

Walking iris.

Ernest D. Bevelhymer

Solution: Greg Grant, contributing editor, tells us this phenomenon is nothing to get too excited about but if you were dividing them he recommends putting them back in the ground. He points out that rhizomes are actually stems so the ones in your photo are just doing what their kinfolk do. Some species of iris (walking iris) are known for this. The first white cemetery iris (iris x albicans) that Greg ever collected had “walked” up the root flare of a big pecan tree to get out of a wet area. Smart move for a Middle Eastern desert iris he points out.

Grasshopper Battle
Problem: After losing several young fruit trees to grasshoppers, I gave up on replacing them until the scourge lets up. But I’m wondering if the fiber row cover you offer and write about might work to protect new trees from the grasshoppers. I’m thinking about leaving it on the whole growing season. Do you think that might work? Do you offer the lighter weight cover? I’m not concerned about frost protection. Love your magazine.

Sandra Cantrell

Solution: Yes, the fiber row cover that we carry would be great for that purpose. It could be left on the whole growing season. However, it may interfere with pollination so you should remove it for a few hours per day during the bloom period or sacrifice the fruit from that season.

Pot Protection
Problem: The article on container gardening in the September/October issue is very compelling. However I have a question: do the pots need protection from the sun to keep them from getting so hot the plant roots are damaged?

Leon Billig

Solution: We have never had a problem with the sun/heat damaging the roots of our plants grown in containers. Actually, container plants grown in the fall and winter would benefit from the warming effect of the sun. If you are concerned about your containers getting too hot, you could paint them with white latex paint to reflect the heat. But we think the most important thing you can do to keep them healthy is to use the largest containers possible.