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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Gardening questions

  • Which are better ‘own-root’ or grafted roses?
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  • Which are better ‘own-root’ or grafted roses?
     
    Many delicate roses like hybrid teas are grafted to stronger rootstock to increase disease resistance, hardiness and blooms. Grafted roses often grow faster, but vigorous suckers from the rootstock can take over. Own-root roses are not grafted. If you want a plant with a longer lifespan that can survive a hard winter get an own-root rose. If you are after large blooms/heavy flowering go for the grafted roses.
     
    Is there a way to permanently get rid of suckers growing around a tree base?
     
    No, you will have to keep clipping suckers. You can decrease sucker re-growth by spraying the fresh cuts with naphthaleneacetic acid. However this will only keep the suckers from sprouting for about three months.
     
    Workmen drove in our front yard. How do I repair the ruts?
     
    If the ruts are 2” deep or less and the grass isn’t torn up, you can areate the soil to help the compaction. Use a spading fork and poke holes at an angle two or three inches deep and gently lift the sod. Water well. For ruts more than three inches deep, you will need to peel back the sod (leave one edge attached). Next use the spading fork and dig down two to five inches and pry up the soil. Also knock down any ridges and use a garden rake to smooth the area. Lay the sod back down and water well.
     
    My stored dalia tubers have mold on them. Will they be OK?
     
    Fuzzy grey mold is usually harmless. Gently rub the tuber, if the fold comes off easily and the tuber is firm, the tuber is fine. A few soft spots shouldn’t be a problem. If you need to hold the tubers in storage longer, you need to get rid of the mold by putting the tubers in a spot with good air circulation. Just don’t let them dry too much or they will shrivel.
     
    Do compost activators really work to create rapid compost?
     
    Yes, but you can get the same results by adding a shovelful of healthy soil or fresh compost to your pile every few weeks. Both have microbes that break down organic matter. If you use an activator, use one with an organic source, this will feed the microbes already in the pile. Organic activators would be blood or bone meal, alfalfa meal or manure. Avoid chemical activators; while they break down the pile fast, most are harmful to beneficial microbes and earthworms.
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    My 10-year-old peony has never bloomed. Why?
     
    Peonies don’t bloom when they don’t get enough sunlight, get too much fertilizer or are planted too deep. Each plant should contain three to five eyes (buds) and the eye should be planted only one inch beneath the soil. Try re-planting your peony at the proper depth.
     
    Some trees in my yard are showing large roots above ground. What should I do?
     
    Roots grow and mature. They form wood on top, making it look like they are erupting from the ground. Yes, it is annoying, but chopping off exposed areas or allowing the lawn mower to chip away at the root will cause more serious problems by allowing entry for insects or disease. Removing the root will compromise the stability of the tree. Why not save your lawn mower blades and mulch the area or plant ground covers to mask the roots?

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