You are here

ARCHIVE

Rose Brick House
Rose Sweet Madmoiselle

Stop and Smell the Roses - New Roses for 2018

"Of all the flowers, me thinks a rose is best." - William Shakespeare

No garden, from cottage to contemporary, is really complete without at least a few of these whimsical flowering shrubs. Their intoxicating fragrance, beautiful form, and ease of care makes roses hard to resist. As the symbol of love, they have inspired musicians, poets, and authors. Shakespeare alone mentioned roses more than 50 times in his poems and plays. If you're a fellow rose-lover or just looking to add a punch of color to your landscape, here are two new rose introductions for 2018 that you'll want to add to your garden this year:

Rose 'Brick House'
A revelation in red, Brick House™ features small, semi-double, dark-red blooms fringed in dark green foliage. This rose reblooms throughout the season offering a lot of flower power with a strong disease-resistant package to keep them looking good, without a lot of effort. Brick House makes a perfect addition to any landscape, adding color, height and fragrance.

Rose 'Sweet Mademoiselle'
A paradise of pink, this rose changes colors with the changing temperatures. In hot weather, the flowers are light apricot; when it's cooler, they turn peachy-pink to deep pink. The blooms of Sweet Mademoiselle™ are complemented by deep green, disease-resistant foliage. The full, double blooms are sweetly scented on 5-foot shrubs. This hybrid tea blooms from summer into fall and thrives in full sun with rich, well-drained, soil.

Evergreen Clematis Armandii

Growing Up, Down & All Around, Evergreen Vine Clematis Armandii

Vines add a dynamic finishing touch to any landscape by providing color, texture and vertical interest. Climbing vines are an especially valuable element in small spaces or where tall, blank walls cry out for décor. In addition to creating a delightful floral panel, vines can also be extremely functional, serving as privacy screens, hiding eyesores, or shelter from hot afternoon sun.

Flowering vines are an easy way to make a big statement in the garden and few vines offer the versatility of Clematis Armandii. Armandii has foliage that is not only evergreen, but is also eye-catching and is worth growing just for that. Now, throw in contrasting fragrant, vanilla scented, white flowers, and you'll soon see why this clematis is so sought after.

Armandii flowers in late February to early March offering color and interest even in the darker, colder months. This climber grows in all directions and eventually reaches 20 to 25 feet in height with a spread of up to 10 feet. Provide them with good soil, reasonable moisture, and shade at their roots and this year-round showstopper will 'grow up' in your garden for years to come.

Daphne Green
Daphne Variegated

Stop and Smell the Daphne

Whoever coined the phrase, “Stop and smell the roses,” clearly has never stopped to smell the daphne. Revered for the angelically intoxicating fragrance of a citrusy-honeyed, almost baby powderesque perfume, daphne is usually the first thing that comes to mind when our customers visit our stores and ask, “There was this plant I remember from my youth that had the most amazing smell!”

In fact, we tie so many of our memories to smell (some even say it’s our strongest sensory trigger) that it makes sense so many of us are yearning for that sweet aroma in the serene space we’ve created in our gardens.

But though winter daphne is renowned for the fragrance, the foliage is equally as lovely. From delicate rosy-pink blooms and yellow-margined foliage in the variegated varieties to the lush green leaves and vibrant blooms of the Japanese Zuiko Nishiki, this evergreen holds her own in a refined landscape.

Partial shade or sun and regular watering requirements encourage the daphne to be situated in a trafficked shade garden or near a patio or deck. The key to this plants’ prowess is excellent drainage- enough so that the water doesn’t stand and the roots get waterlogged, but not so arid that it’s constantly dry.

Wherever you frequent most is where you’re going to want this beautiful addition. It get’s an A+ for winter hardiness. With all the snow we’ve been having and may have in the future, this may be the cornerstone of this season’s planting plan. And when early spring comes, you’ll be sure to enjoy the sweet smell of success.

How do Drastic Changes in Temperature Affect Landscape Plants?

Written by McDonald Garden Center CEO, Eddie Anderson

Weather affects plants in many obvious ways, but also in ways we may not realize, and this winter’s fluctuating temperatures are certainly a cause for concern. Here’s an overview of the weather patterns that have occurred over the last few months and how they may affect your plants:

Prolonged Mild Fall Season Temperatures
First, a prolonged, mild, fall season did not prepare hardy plants for the winter. Plants develop their cold hardiness in stages. Each new temperature low increases the plant's ability to survive even colder temps. Maximum hardiness is usually reached in late January and early February and is best achieved by a gradual chilling. This year, the cold was delayed then hit with a vengeance. Cold temperatures can split the bark and conducting tissue of plants. The result is death of the stem beginning at the point of the split. The late warmth allowed the plant cell tissue to retain more moisture thus reducing the concentration of salts and chemicals in the cell that act as antifreeze in high concentrations. As a result, the cells freeze and burst and plant death occurs.

Drought Prior to the Cold Snap
We also experienced a period of drought prior to the cold snap. This tends to cause plants to have a more difficult time during the winter. Most likely, this has to do with root loss and limiting ability of the plant to convert sugars to starch for long-term storage in plant tissue.

Snowfall
Then came the snow. This is a real benefit to the plants. Snow replenishes the soil moisture and acts as a wonderful, protective blanket to help retain the warmth in the soil. What we don’t know is the depth of penetration of the cold, how deep did the frost go and what was the low temperature in the root zone. All roots die at temperatures below 15 degrees. Did the earth get cold enough to cause root damage? How much frost heave has occurred? Heaving may tear up roots and expose them to colder temperatures. Perennials and small shrubs with shallow roots are the most susceptible. As soon as the ground thaws, we recommend that you inspect plants and press them back into their original place so, the root makes good soil contact.

High Winds
During the cold, we also experienced high winds. Unless the plants were small and covered by snow, the wind pulled the moisture out of the leaf tissue. This causes severe wind burn, since the leaves are frozen and cannot replace the moisture. Next comes warm temperatures. Here is where the problems arise. The sun and warm temperatures thaw out the leaves and stems. They begin to function and have a need for water. The roots are still frozen and cannot function resulting in further dehydration. Plants that are in sunny locations are the most susceptible. Plants that are in the shade, often on the north and west side of your home, have less fluctuation of temperature.

No matter how well you plan, Mother Nature is in charge. Just be sure to stay attune to weather conditions and try to protect plants as best you can. And remember, spring is just around the corner!

Impact of Cold Weather on Your Garden

Written by McDonald Garden Center CEO, Eddie Anderson

After a mild prolonged fall season our plants and gardens are having to endure a severe cold shock. Plants develop their cold hardiness slowly in the fall and beginning of winter. The further into winter we go the more cold hardiness plants develop. Most likely our gardens are more vulnerable than usual this year.

Broad leaf evergreens are the most susceptible to damage during this period. The above ground leaves and stems are frozen during the nights. The high winds pull the moisture from the foliage even when frozen. During the bright sunny days the foliage thaws and creates even more demand for water. The top few inches of soil remain frozen and the roots cannot take up water. This leads to the complete dehydration and death of the leaves. In weather like we are having now it is there is also the possibility that the bark of evergreens like azaleas, camellias and hollies will split and cause death of the plant. Fortunately we have a good snow cover that is a nice blanket of insulation that will protect most perennials and smaller plants. The most vulnerable plants are those in above ground containers. Most plants die when the root temperature reaches 15 degrees. When planted in the garden roots are much more protected because three feet down the earth is a toasty warm 57 degrees. This underground warmth continues to keep the soil temperature from dropping much below 30 degrees. The snow cover then helps retain this warming effect.

As we clear our walks and driveways do not use ice melting materials in areas where the run off will settle around the leaves and roots of plants. This may cause burning and death of garden plantings.

What to expect:
As we thaw out the plants will begin to show signs of damage. This process will take until June to play out. Even then be aware that plants may be in a weakened condition and susceptible to other problems. Plants that loose there leaves may be much slower to leaf out in the spring. Be patient. Allow more time for the plants to recover. If you are uncertain, check to see if the plant is still alive. Simply take your thumb nail and scratch the bark. If you find green tissue under the surface the plant is still alive. If the tissue is brown it is dead at the point you checked but may be alive in the roots or lower stem. Go ahead and remove any dead stems you find as they still act as a wick to continue to pull moisture from the plant. Broad leaf evergreens will give you additional clues as to their condition. If the leave loose their color begin to curl downward that section of the plant is probably dead. Give the stems the scratch test to find green tissue. Also look for splitting of the bark, another sign of death of that section of the plant. Remove these sections. In the freezes of the late 1970s and early 80’s we observed large, established hedges of ligustrum killed to the ground. The ones that were cut to the ground were back up to full size in 3 years. The extensive root system produced very vigorous new growth. Figs are a plant that is particularly vulnerable. Even big old growth may be killed to the ground. Just cut the dead wood away and be patient. You will be eating figs again in 2-3 years.

While in this weakened state plants do not have a demand for fertilizer. As much as we would like to help as they struggle to recover please resist the temptation to apply fertilizer until you have some vigorous new shoots to utilize it. Fertilizing too soon may cause more damage to the weakened root system. Be patient. When in doubt wait. Mother Nature has amazing power to regenerate her self.

Roots do not have a big demand for water. Only water if we are in a period of extended drought.

Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale (CMBS) Credit:Mississippi State University
Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale Crawlers Credit:University of Arkansas
Soot Colored Mold from Heavy Infestation Credit:University of Arkansas
CMBS on Smaller Branches Credit:Mississippi State University
CMBS Aphid Infestation Credit:Mississippi State University

Identifying and Treating Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale

Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale is a relatively new nonnative scale that was first detected in the U.S. in 2004. Slowly over the last 13 years it has moved northward and is now a serious threat to Crepe Myrtles in Hampton Roads.

Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale (or CMBS) is relatively easy to identify in heavy infestations, but can be difficult to notice in its early stages on Crepe Myrtles. CMBS has only infested Crepe Myrtles in the U.S. so far, but in other parts of the world it has infested other species of plants that we do plant in our area. This is why it is so important to identify and control this insect now before it begins to spread to other plant species in the future.

Heavily infested crepe myrtles will have large almost completely encrusted sections of the bark or twigs covered in white scale. CMBS produce large quantities of honeydew, a sticky substance that gets on the leaves and branches and trunks of the plant and then will usually encourage the development of sooty mold, which will turn dark brown to black over a short amount of time. Smaller infestations are much more difficult to identify, in the nymph stage they are very small and usually pink, gray or brown. The adults create a white covering making them easier to spot. CMBS will mainly eat off the twigs, branches and trunks. Most infestations begin in the smaller branches and twigs at the top of the tree, making larger specimens harder to initially identify until the bark scale moves lower down the tree. One adult can lay up to 300 eggs, making this scale one of the fastest to spread in short time frame.

Treatment of Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale has to be done in stages and the time of the year will dictate what you should treat with. The late fall to early spring time frame is an easier time to identify whether or not you have a problem, as there are no leaves and blooms to hide the infestations.

Treat in late fall to early spring with a high quality oil spray like Fertilome Horticultural Oil Spray. With 80% mineral oil this product works as a suffocant and will kill the scale and the sooty mold. The mold and the scale both need to be coated in the Horticultural Oil in order to be controlled effectively, so spray the branches, twigs and trunks liberally until dripping. Spray nearby Crepe Myrtles as well, as newly or slightly infested plants may be unnoticeable. Repeat applications every 2-3 weeks or as needed, and always read label and instructions before using any control.

The Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale that dies will discolor and fall off the tree over time. The sooty mold will eventually wash off naturally, but can be washed off gently with soap and water on the main trunks and branches where applicable and noticeable.

Treatments will need to be made in the late spring to early fall time to completely control the Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale. In a future blog we will discuss the importance of treating CMBS with Systemic Insecticides which are much stronger during the growing season to really control the scale, and other effective fungicides to control the sooty mold as well. These products listed below will be discussed in detail then:
•Fertilome Systemic Insect Drench
•Hi Yield Systemic Insect Spray
•Fertilome Broad Spectrum Fungicide
•Fertilome F-Stop Fungicide

Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale is a serious insect issue to one of our beloved trees in Hampton Roads and with proper identification and control methods together we can control this issue. Please stay tuned to our blogs for future information and control methods for the Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale. Please visit any of our year round locations to talk with a Garden Pharmacy employee to help identify and control any issues you may be having in your garden or landscape.