I am told that the smaller version of the Knockout is hardier and it is something you might want to investigate. It seems to me that the old favorite, the Hybrid Tea Rose, is still one of the best roses, along with the old fashioned roses.
Another insect that shows up about this time of year is the azalea lace bug. It eats holes in azaleas and rhododendrons. You will know it by the spotted leaves with specks on the undersides. Seven was the prescribed cure but there may be better and newer sprays on the market. This little insect can make some impressive holes in your plants. You may have to spray more than once but this little pest can be killed.
If you have magnolias, you may notice that holes have come in the leaves of your magnolias. There is a little weevil that feeds on the leaves in July and then drops to the ground before August and that’s where you can kill them. Again, I have recommended Seven, but you might want to check with your garden center for a newer spray. It has been a long time since I have had a magnolia. I have a neighbor up the street who has a beautiful magnolia and I just enjoy looking at his tree and let him worry about the little weevil.
Your young trees may not make it till next spring unless you water them thoroughly throughout the hot, dry summer. Keep the grass pulled from around them and use mulch, being careful to not let the mulch get up on the bark where insects and mice will have a field day. To water the young trees, lay a hose down in the area around the trees and leave it there for 30 minutes or more, moving it from one side to the other. Large trees need more time with the hose and need water as far as the shade reaches. For large trees, a soaker is best.
While on the subject of roses, I still get an occasional call from a reader wanting to know the old method of starting new roses under a fruit jar. I learned this method from my dear grandmother and have always had success. Since not all the little roses will grow roots under the jars, I always recommend that you start several of each rose so that you will succeed with at least one. Also, I start them in a shady place near a water source because you will need to keep the ground moist till winter. From not till the last of August is a good time for starting little roses with this method. Once the rose has put out leaves next spring and danger of frost is past, remove the jar and let the little rose grow till fall before trying to move it or even wait till the following spring.
You can start hybrid tea roses, the miniature roses or the old fashioned roses. First choose the site for starting them, wet the area well, buy some Rootone, a rooting compound, and you are ready. Choose a branch of a rose that is at least a foot or more long and pull downwards on the little branch until it pulls away from the main stem. That will leave what is called the heel and that is where the roots will start. Pull leaves from most of the stem and put the stems in a jar of water to let them soak for a day or two. Roll the lower part of the stem in the Rootone and you are ready to “plant” each stem. I use a shovel to make a slit in the soil, put the stem down at least 6 inches or more and press the soil back in place. You want about 10 inches or so above the ground. Put a quart or ½ gallon fruit jar over the stem. During summer, put a little pebble under the jar to let air circulate in the jar. Then I always place some bricks or large rocks around the jar to keep them in place. Some animal or person might accidentally knock the jar over. It is not essential to use Rootone but it does help, though Ma never heard of it. I have started many, many roses this way. It is really important to have that “heel” on the stem. I have found that the easiest rose to start is the little miniature but I have started all of them.
Ma and her neighbor ladies would always cut a bouquet for a visitor to take home in the summer and if Ma saw a rose that she liked, she would start it under a jar.
Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632 with questions or comments.