Knock Out Roses a low-maintenance option
by Ronella Stager, Columnist
Jun 08, 2011 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Knock Out Rose is the most widely sold rose in North America and has broken all records for sales of a new rose. It does not need special care and is the most disease resistant rose on the market. They have a long bloom cycle that will continue blooming until the first hard frost. They are self cleaning which means they need no deadheading. They thrive in almost every region in the country without winter protection. If not pruned, they will grow to 3-4 feet wide by 3-4 feet tall. Periodic trims will keep them at a smaller size. To be at their best, cut to about 18 inches in early spring. And that’s about all maintenance they need.

They can be planted individually among shrubs, annuals and perennials and in mixed beds and borders. They can be planted in large groups to create a colorful hedge. Plant them along a foundation to provide a bright border. You probably will have more ideas.

In my town the Chamber of Commerce and the city have combined forces to plant almost a hundred Knock Out Roses along the street coming into town. They are used to brighten spots near the entrance to businesses as well as in parks and homes. This lovely rose is the most exciting rose since the first Hybrid Tea Rose. The first one I ever saw was in front of a restaurant a few years ago and it just blew me away.

This beauty comes in many colors but the reds and pinks seem to be the most vigorous.

Though not new on the market, Preen is a wonderful aid to gardeners. There is no need to kill weeds when Preen keeps the seeds from germinating. If you get the weeds out first, sprinkle Preen in flower beds and around shrubs, you will prevent most weeds. It has been used in vegetable gardens but I cannot recommend it since I have no information from users. I can see one fault in this product and that is that the self seeding perennials will not sprout when Preen is used. My daughter-in-law, who keeps abreast of every aid to gardeners, used this product early this spring and her flower beds are unsurpassed.

Another product which is relatively new is the grass beaters which can be sprayed over the top of flowers to kill grassy weeds that are frustrating to flower beds. One brand is Bonide’s Grass Beater. It can even be used over berry and vegetable gardens as well as perennial and evergreen gardens. This is a product worth investigating I would think.

The environmental forces are pushing a lot of old stand-by products such as SEVIN. A newer product which is being pushed is called EIGHT. It is organic and less harmful. A new one is Captain Jack’s Deadbug brew. What a name! It is made from a natural bacterium that was found in the ruins of an old rum distillery in Jamacia. It is a fantastic product and very sound for organic gardeners. It can be used on fruits, vegetables, berries, grapes, nuts and ornamentals. These are just a few of the newer or more widely used products. I quote the old adage, “Be not the first nor the last to take up something new”. What Ma would think of all the new gardening products!

Your local garden center, the one which you know to be reliable, will happily show you more new products and tools. Beware of the kid who knows nothing about the store’s products. Just pass him by and ask for the manager. I guarantee that he will be informative and helpful. I have been fortunate to have a local hardware/garden center owned by gardeners who keep their plants in perfect condition.

If you haven’t already planted your tomatoes, try sinking a tin can (both ends cut out, of course) around the stems to keep cutworms from having a picnic on those tender plants. I always planted a few marigolds among the tomato plants. I thought it helped keep out insects and if it didn’t, I liked the looks of the blooms among the red tomatoes.

Every spring I hear about that dratted bagworm. May is when the bag worms come out of the tiny bags. Look carefully at your evergreens and if you find even one, give the whole plant a good spraying with Orthene. They can do so much damage in a short time.

The wonderful big leaf hydrangeas should now be leafed out and you can see the dead stems. The old dead stems should be cut out but do not trim any other stems. Fall is the best time to plant them but a gift of this lovely plant can be planted outside now. They like light shade and a rich moist soil so they must be watered often. Remember that added lime will make pink blooms and an acid fertilizer will give you blue blooms. Forget the rusty nail bit. The hydrangeas are prone to get powdery mildew so watch for it and spray with a fungicide.

“Take your everyday life and use it for good.”

If you have questions or comments, feel free to call me at 270-522-3632. If there is a particular idea for a column, I would appreciate your advice.
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