Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Prune out Dieback before It Further Damages Rosebush

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Prune out Dieback before It Further Damages Rosebush

Article excerpt

Byline: BECKY WERN

One of my rose bushes has a couple of stems that have turned brown, although the rest of the stems are still green. Should I be concerned?

This is not a case of winter damage. It is dieback, a fungal disease. Left unbridled, the disease will continue to spread backward and can kill the plant.

Prune out the diseased areas, cutting a couple of inches below the browned stem tissue.

Between each cut, be sure to clean cutters by either swabbing them with a 70 percent alcohol solution or dipping them in a solution of 1 percent bleach to 9 percent water. This will help prevent recontamination of the new cut surfaces.

Spraying your plant with any of the fungicides that control black spot will also help, as will good general care for roses: adequate water and fertilizer, good air circulation and mulching.

I planted a small vegetable garden, mostly lettuces and Chinese cabbage and spinach. Something ate the plants down almost to the ground. Could this have been cutworms at this time of the year? How do I stop it?

Your plants were a fairly good size and disappeared a bit at a time, so this is not a cutworm problem. Cutworms are insects (moth larvae) that chomp off very young seedlings at the soil level. The leaves are left wilting at the site.

You could have rabbits, although you think it is unlikely.

That leaves a culprit you hadn't considered: your squirrels. Squirrels eat a very diverse menu, not just acorns. They are very fond of tender greens and flowers.

To control them you must fence them out. Small gauge fencing, plastic or metal should work.

You can also consider scattering hot pepper sauce around the plants. It will make them think twice before they enter the garden area and may dissuade them altogether.

A couple of years ago you recommended something for citrus dieback. …

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