My shrubs are dying

RoseFarm.com International

WILTING CUT ROSES

Wilting cut roses is what we want to avoid. Cut roses in a lovely vase are a welcome addition to your home. They provide a nice decoration and pleasant aroma. The ladies love receiving them and the man in their life loves to give them. Unfortunately, after a few days the decoration losses its luster and they start to wilt and then you have wilting cut roses. This cannot be avoided but can be delayed with the proper preparation and care.

Premature wilting is not always a sign of an old rose. It usually indicated that air is trapped in the stem and the stem needs to again be cut. Submerge the entire rose including the stem and leaves in a pan of warm water or bathtub. The rose usually revives again within an hour and can be replaced in the arrangement. If they drink in air it could cause wilting cut roses.

Not cleaning the vase will insure that the pores in the stems will not be able to get the water to the bloom and then you will have wilting cut roses. You will need to carefully wash the vase with household bleach. A half a teaspoon full will do the trick. Rinse the vase completely with warm water to get out the bleach.

Place under running water and cut the bottom of the stems, about one half inch, at an angle. Remove the leaves that will show below the waterline of the filled vase. These leaves will get rotten and cause disease. Immediately place in room temperature water to avoid air bubbles.

Change the water daily and add rose food.

Ripening vegetables and fruits give off ethylene gas and hasten the ageing of the roses. When displaying them also keep them away from fruits and vegetables. Smoke from cigarettes will also shorten rose life.

Some immature roses that have wilted at the neck (the stem just below the flower) can not be revived. You may want to float the bloom in a rose bowl.

The primary cause of dying roses or wilting cut roses is extreme fluctuations of temperature. Single drooping roses are a symptom of lack of water and food.

Some typical problems that occur are:

Flowers drooped in a day and stems are limp or neck is bent. Flowers were probably dry too long. You will need to re-cut the stems.

Roses did not open. Flowers were probably harvested too early or they may have been too old. Consider placing roses in rose bowl.

Roses opened too fast and did not last. Use of too warm water was probably the cause.

Petals were drooping in a day. This may be due to their age, water problems or ethylene exposure. (From fresh fruit and vegetables)

Remember to keep your roses away from direct sunlight and heating vents and away from drafts. Change the water as discussed previously.

Air bubbles and bacteria are the prime causes of wilting cut roses. To prevent air bubble blockage you need to make a new stem end while holding under water. Bacteria can be managed by your rose preservative. The usual failure of roses is the use of plain water, forgetting the food.

More Fresh Cut Flower Care

Following these 6 easy flower care tips… will help to increase the longevity of your fresh cut flowers.

How can I make my flowers last longer?
Certain varieties of fresh cut flowers last longer than others. Carnations, for example… can remain vibrant for long periods. Roses have a shorter vase life, but are prized for their special and delicate beauty. When buying flowers, be sure to ask the staff at Rosefarm.com how long you should expect your arrangement to last. Whatever variety you choose, a little TLC will go a long way to keep your flowers looking fresh longer.

Essentials for your flowers…
Keep your flowers in a cool area, 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your flowers out of direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, and direct drafts from the sides or above. Don’t place your flowers on anything that gives off heat such as TV’s or heating radiators. Avoid leaving your flowers in the car.

When your flowers arrive in wet Oasis foam…
Keep the floral foam soaked with water containing floral food. The floral shop should provide and extra packet with your arrangement. Be sure to follow the instructions on the floral food packet.

When your flowers are arranged in water…
Keep the vase filled with water containing floral food provided by the florist. Be sure to follow the instructions on the floral food packet.

If the water in the vase becomes cloudy… replace the entire contents of the vase with fresh water and new floral food. Re-cut the stems with a sharp knife removing 1″ to 2″ of the stem. Remove any leaves that will be below the water line to discourage bacterial growth that can clog the stem of the flowers.

When your flowers have woody stems and branches…
Cut the stems with sharp pruning shears. Place the stems in tepid water containing fresh floral food… to promote flower opening.

Why use floral food… and what is it?
Floral food is a combination of ingredients that help to nourish the flowers and discourage bacteria growth in the water. It is one of the best… and easiest ways to extend the life of your flowers. It is very important to follow the directions on the package. Improperly mixed floral food can do more harm than good!

Caring for Cut Roses

Here is some expert advice on caring for your cut roses in a vase. Whether you cut them from your garden or buy them from a florist, these tips will help you make them last and make them look their brightest and fullest. Scroll to the bottom for a bonus video on how to arrange a dozen roses like an expert!

Follow these simple steps to get the maximum vase life and enjoyment from your fresh cut roses:

  1. Hydration, hydration, hydration! Whether you receive cut roses or buy them yourself, get them into water as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have time to arrange them in the desired vase right away, it’s important to place them into some container of water until you can get to them.
  2. Use warm water. Prepare the vase first by cleaning it thoroughly. Then, fill it ¾ full with lukewarm water (100°F to 110°F, about the same temperature as bath water). Warm water can be absorbed by the flower with greater ease than cold water, allowing the water and nutrients to travel up to the bloom as quickly as possible.
  3. The importance of flower food. Be sure to add flower food to the water according to package directions. Florists include these packets with all cut flower bouquets, and they really work!
    Flower food contains three key ingredients that work together to prolong the life of your flowers: a food source for continued flower development, an acidifier to control the pH of the water, and a biocide to kill harmful bacteria.
    If for some reason you do not have commercial flower food, you can make your own! Just add 3 teaspoons of non-diet lemon-lime soda (to serve as the food source and the acidifier) and 1 teaspoon of bleach (to kill the bacteria) to one quart of warm water.
  4. Eliminate sources of bacteria in the water. Before placing the flowers into the water, remove any foliage that would fall below the water line. Foliage in the water causes bacteria to grow which will shorten the vase life of the flower.
  5. How to properly cut stems. If your flowers were shipped with water vials to keep them hydrated, remove them. Then, cut the stems. Ideally, you should cut about an inch from the bottom of each stem, at an angle, while holding the bottom of the stem under water. Once the stem is cut, place it immediately in the vase.
    By cutting under water, the rose will immediately start to absorb water, preventing any air bubbles from forming in the stem. Cutting at an angle maximizes the amount of water that can be absorbed by the stem. Both these things prevent blockage of the flow of water to the bloom, which is where the water needs to get!
  6. Repeat. For optimum vase life (over 7 days), repeat these steps every three days–take the flowers out of the vase, and clean your vase with hot water. Then, refill the vase with clean, warm water and flower food; cut your stems an inch under water; and place back in the vase.
    On a daily basis, check the water level and add warm water as needed.

Showcasing your flowers

  1. Where to display your roses. Display your flowers in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and drafts. Avoid displaying your flowers near a direct source of heat or any extreme temperatures, such as a window with strong sunlight, heating and cooling vents, and appliances that give off heat.
  2. Give roses a “face-lift” by gently removing discolored or drooping petals from roses to give them a fresh, just-received appearance even after several days.
  3. Keep your flowers away from ripening fruit. These give off ethylene gas, which shorten the life of cut flowers.
  1. If your roses wilt, they can be revived. Submerge the entire rose under water, such as a sink or bathtub. In about 30 minutes to an hour, the rose will have absorbed enough water to become replenished. Before putting it back into the vase, remember to cut off one inch of the stem under water using a sharp knife or scissors.

A fresh rose can last for 10-14 days. Poor handling from the grower to the merchandiser will reduce longevity dramatically.

For maximum vase life, it is important that the flowers are conditioned properly.
Roses do not like to be out of water for too long of a period of time, so as soon as you buy/receive them, remove the lower leaves, put the roses in a bucket of warm water with floral preservative and recut each stem 1/2-1 inch. Fill a vase with tepid water and freshly mixed preservative and immediately transfer the flowers into the vase.

Re-cutting under warm water (100-110 degrees) facilitates faster water uptake and removes any blockage caused by air, bacteria and debris. A rose stem is like a drinking straw, water will flow with in 2 seconds. If you don’t put the stem in water immediately after cutting, air will block the water from going up the stem. This is especially beneficial for flowers with tight buds.

According to an AMF, here are some typical problems that may arise.

Stems are limp and flowers drooped in a day
Bent neck syndrome is usually due to water-related problems. Flowers may have been dry too long and the stem may be blocked. Recut the stems as directed and hydrate in tepid water.

Roses did not open
Hydration problem (water uptake) Flowers may have been harvested too early with the buds too tight or the roses may be too old.

Flowers opened too fast and didn’t last long
“Blowing” of roses is temperature related – use of too warm water. However there are new varieties that open quickly but they last a long time after opening.

Petals started drooping in a day
Premature petal drop may be due to age, temperature, water problems or ethylene exposure.

Keep your rose arrangement away from direct sunlight, heating and air-conditioning vents. Change the water every two or three days and add fresh preservative.

warm regards

Charlie Farricielli

Rosefarm.com International President

"New Growth" is the natural hair that grows from your scalp weeks after you’ve relaxed or permed your hair. Hair is fragile at this point since there are 2 different types of hair on your head, natural and chemically processed. Here are simple ways to manage new growth and maintain healthy hair.

The point where the two textures of hair meet is known as the "line of demarcation" which is the is the weakest point of the hair. Be sure not to tug or pull the hair too tightly because its more prone to breaking or snapping.

Conditioning the hair is always critical when hair is processed but it becomes even more important when you have new growth. Alternate between a Moisturizing and Protein based conditioner 1-2xs weekly to retain soft and strong hair.

Co-wash hair 1-2xs per week. Co-washing is using conditioner instead of shampoo to wash hair which will keep the hair and new growth soft. Also moisturize hair with a good product and seal with natural oil like Jojoba, Coconut, or Olive oil nightly.

The right styling is important when you have new growth. In order to camouflage the two textures, wear styles that require very little or no daily grooming like braid-outs, cornrows, stylish wigs, loose braids, straw-sets, flexirods, loose buns, or twist-outs. Steer clear of heat, anything that contributes to drying out the hair is not recommended.

Lastly, keep in mind that you don’t have to relax/re-process your hair at the first sight of new growth. New Growth is GOOD! Though you have to be more gentle when it is present, allowing your natural hair to grow-in longer than 9 weeks will contribute to thicker, healthier hair. It will also lessen the chances of double processing hair which leads to damage.

Recently, I spent a good ten minutes lamenting my flyaways to my hairstylist during a routine cut and asking the heavens why I have such visible breakage when I’m so nice to my hair. He, being French and unperturbed, tugged at a few of the short hairs and stated, “This is not breakage; it’s new hair growth.” Wait, what? Despite my initial surprise and delight (yay, I can keep my blow-dryer!), I was a little skeptical. Can you really tell the difference between damage and growth just by eyeballing it? So I went to Neil Sadick, a New York City dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who specializes in hair growth and loss, for some answers.

“Without a trained eye or a microscope, it’s difficult to differentiate between short hairs that are broken and short hairs that are growing in,” says Sadick. Bummer. Still, there are some clues that can help you tell if damage is the issue, he notes, starting with your post-shower routine. “If you frequently blow-dry your hair on high heat, you’re undoubtedly causing stress and breakage,” says Sadick. “While new hair will generally be in the same growth phase—and thus the same length—damaged hair will vary in length and may appear kinked, look irregular, or have thin, frayed ends,” he explains.

Another culprit might be your hairstyle. If you constantly have your hair in a topknot like I do (there’s no shame in that, right?), you might notice that most of your flyaways are centered around your forehead and temples. Sure, those baby hairs could be new growth, but it’s more likely that they’re the sad, broken result of pulling your hair back. “Breakage is most often seen in the frontal area, where hair is frequently getting touched, brushed, and clipped,” says Sadick. Next time you put your hair in your go-to ponytail or bun, pull your flyaways loose from the rest of your hair and see how far back they can reach. If most of the hairs seem to stop short right at the base of your pony or topknot, breakage is probably the answer.

“Of course, not every short hair you see means you’re inflicting damage, which is why a visit to your dermatologist is a good idea if you’re worried,” notes Sadick. But if you’re a girl who uses three heat tools and an elastic every single day, save yourself the trip and start using a deep-conditioning hair mask, like Fekkai PrX Reparatives Intense Fortifying Masque. “Conditioner coats the hair shaft and makes it less susceptible to trauma,” says Sadick. “And don’t waste your money on anything that promises to fix split ends—only a haircut can do that.”

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dying shrubs

It’s unlikely that there is a single cause of all the problems you described. This past winter was especially brutal for your area. Butterfly bushes and some varieties of hydrangea (primarily big leaf) have been adversely affected. It could be nematodes or a blight that is spreading in your garden. Because of the extent of your problems my recommendation would be to take a sample of each problem shrub to your local extension office in Bucks County. The extension office will be able to examine each sample to determine if there is a common cause. If that is not possible due to time and/or travel constraints then consider the following: Lilac – It may be bacterial blight, a common and widespread disease of lilacs, begins as brown spots on the leaves and stems of the bush. The spots eventually enlarge, causing the leaves to become malformed, die and drop off. The spots then move to the stems, which are eventually girdled by the bacteria. Shoots and blossoms die as a result of the stem infection. Clean up debris around lilacs to prevent the spores from entering the shrub through pruning cuts. Prevent bacterial blight by proper fertilizing and watering of lilacs. Water at soil level to keep leaves dry. Prune lilacs yearly to allow air and light into the center of the plant, which will decrease the likelihood of an infection. Verbena – please see the following link that describes various diseases of verbena consistent with your description. http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/verbena-diseases Chinese holly – please see the following article on holly diseases. Root rot is consistent with your description. http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/holly-diseases Hydrangea – please see following link and reference to leaf spot disease http://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-diseases/all-fact-sheets/hydrangea-diseases Also, feel free to respond with additional information specific to each plant problem. Pictures can also be helpful along with information about location – sunny, shady, damp, etc. We hope this will be of some help in resolving your issues.

Q:

About half the plants we put in the ground last year don’t look very healthy. Many of them appear dead or severely winter damaged. Some came with a warranty. Others didn’t. Looks like I’m out some cash and have to replant. Advice is welcome.

A:

It was a tough winter, but the good news is that correct care can help shrubs, trees and flowers bounce back and thrive in the growing season ahead. So don’t be so fast to yank a shrub or young tree that doesn’t seem to be shaping up. People have a powerful urge to plant in the spring and to put the winter behind them, especially if it was harsh. Many a plant that still had life in it has been tossed on the compost heap, where it has miraculously recovered from oblivion. Since in most parts of the country you can plant trees and shrubs well into the fall, give the plant a full season to recover. If the plant fails to put on green leaves or is dried out, brittle and obviously dead, then consider replacing it. But first, try a little judicious pruning to remove winter-damaged material. Also, get some local advice. Your best sources for this are the nursery from which you purchased the stock and a regional agricultural extension office. These folks know local growing conditions better than anybody.

There are two other steps to take to aid in recovery. Apply fertilizer to help the plant heal damage and put on root growth. And prevent deer damage. Deer may have an entire forest at their disposal, but these mowers on hooves will prefer your plants’ tender growth. Take it from me: Few things will inflame antideer anger more than rescuing a plant only to see its new growth gnawed off. There are lots of foul-smelling spray-applied deer repellents available; I don’t need to list them. They work, but if the shrubs are small, you can just as simply block access to the plant with wire mesh. Green plastic mesh also works and is less visible. The more quickly you can get a plant to turn around and thrive this spring and summer, the more likely it can withstand next winter’s wrath.

Digging a “$10 Hole”

When replacing winter-damaged plants or adding to your landscape, follow the advice of Connecticut landscape contractor Frank Gardner (really, that’s his name). His motto: “Put a $5 plant in a $10 hole.” In other words, your extra labor will be repaid with vigorous trees and shrubs.

1. Make the diameter of the hole two to three times that of the plant’s root ball.

2. Dig the hole just deep enough that the plant rests on undisturbed soil and its root flare (the point at which the stem flares out to meet the roots) won’t be covered.

3. Cut away all wrapping twine, wire or cord holding the planting container to the root ball.

4. Sever roots that have wound themselves around the root ball.

5. Place the plant gently in the hole so the root ball does not break away or crack open.

6. Backfill the hole to about halfway and moisten the backfilled material, then finish backfilling. Water again so the plant is resting in consistently moist soil.

7. Use mulch to suppress weed growth and hold in moisture, but do not mulch over the root flare.

Reasons Why New Growth Is Dying

New growth on your plants is a promise of blooms, big beautiful leaves or, at the very least, an extended lifespan; but when that new growth is wilting or dying, most gardeners panic, not knowing what to do. Although dying growth on plants of any age is a serious and difficult problem to manage, there are a few things you can try to save your plants before they go belly up.

Why New Growth is Dying

Well, that’s really the question, isn’t it? The reasons for tender growth dying are numerous, but they can generally be divided into these categories: bugs, vascular disease and root damage.

Pests – When you’re trying to determine how to fix dying growth, bugs are by far the easiest. Tip and twig borers, like those common on many evergreen trees and blueberries, prefer to burrow into the soft tissues at the end of shrubs and trees. Look for tiny holes at the end, or snap some dying tissue off and inspect it for galleries or tunnels. You may never see the tiny beetles responsible, but their telling tunnels and entry holes are evidence enough.

Disease – Vascular diseases are caused by fungal and bacterial pathogens that invade the transport tissues of your plants. As these pathogens multiply, they clog the vascular tissues, making it difficult or impossible for some parts of your plant to get nutrients, water and send manufactured food back to the crown. All this blockage will eventually cause the death of tissues, and tender new growth is usually the most susceptible since it’s the furthest from the roots.

Root damage – Root damage is another common cause of dead new growth. Fertilizers are great and so is watering your plant, but there’s such a thing as too much. When this good stuff is in excess, it often leads to root damage. The smallest roots usually die first, but sometimes whole sections of the root system can be killed, especially in the case of excess slow-release fertilizer or fertilizer salt build-up. Fewer roots means fewer nutrients and less water that can be transported, so these valuable materials often doesn’t make it all the way to the tips of the plant once root damage is severe.

How to Fix Dying Growth

Dying growth can be difficult to cure, no matter the cause. If you’ve got boring beetles, they’ll probably be long gone before your plant starts to show signs of damage and vascular diseases are almost always death sentences, so intervention in either case is usually pointless. Damaged roots, on the other hand, can sometimes be regrown with careful management.

If possible, dig your plant and check the roots. You’ll need to prune out any that are black, brown or feel soft. Increase the drainage for outdoor plants by adding enough compost to fill the rootball’s hole one quarter to one half of the way. Potted plants will need to be flushed, do this by removing their saucers and watering the plant from the top, until the water runs out the bottom. Repeat this four times to remove excess fertilizer salts from the soil. If the soil stays soggy for more than a few minutes, you should consider repotting the plant.

Going forward, pay close attention to how often you fertilize and water your plant. Remember, too much is just as bad for them as too little. Water only when the plant’s soil surface feels dry, and fertilize only when the plant appears to need it, such as when the leaves start to lighten in color. Never leave your plant in standing water, as this will only undo the work you’ve done to help save it.

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