Roses In Water

My neighbor has given me a section from a rose, but I don’t have time to plant it. How long can I leave it in water in a bucket?

Plants are not usually harmed when left in water for a day or two, but they really should be planted as soon as possible. The roots must be kept moist or they may die. However, if left in water, they gradually are damaged by lack of oxygen. If you must delay planting of the rose or any other plant, do what is called heeling in. This means digging a temporary hole or trench, setting the plants, covering their roots loosely with soil and then watering well. Plant as soon as possible.

Is it better to mix compost into the soil or to leave it on the surface when preparing beds for planting?

Either way is fine as long as you’re sure the compost has fully matured (no noticeable leaves or food scraps). If it has not fully decomposed, it is better to leave it on the surface where it can finish breaking down without tying up nitrogen in the soil.

The bushes I plant near my house keep dying. I have replaced the shrubs twice. What shall I do to save the appearance of the front of the house?

First check the drainage. If it is OK, your plants are probably affected by the lime that is leaching into the soil from the foundation of your house. Most evergreen shrubs are acid loving. Lime raises the pH of the soil. Fertilize with an acid fertilizer such as Miracid. The shrubs will respond faster if some of the fertilizer is sprayed on the foliage.

I received some canned hot peppers that are especially good. Can I save the seeds and plant them?

The high heat of canning plus the acid of vinegar used in preparing peppers will destroy the viability of the seeds. There is a very good chance that you will be able to find the same variety of hot peppers at the Farmers Market this summer.

Send your gardening and landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville, 72704 or call 444-1755.

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