Shrubs & Trees FAQ
DOUGLAS FIRKen....Thanks for your question - albeit brief and lacking in significant detail. When did you transplant? How careful were you with the root systems? How large are the plants? Where do you live (temperature zone)? Woodland trees generally grow where they grow because they like the conditions there... woodsy, acidic, usually moist, ample under-story cover like brambles, mosses (an indicator of acidic conditions), bunnies, deer, moose and bear dropping bits and piles of "fertilizer" here and there. What these woodland trees don't like is being disturbed... and they particularly don't like being removed from a favored environment...and replanted in a place they clearly don't want to be. Having said that....if you moved them when they were dormant (or as close to dormant as possible); If you didn't damage too many roots in the process and didn't allow remaining roots to dry out; If their new home closely duplicates the growing conditions where they used to be; If you keep them watered, staked and annually fed (with fertilizer suitable for needled-evergreens); and if you're lucky......they should do just fine. A 3 or 4-inch layer of woodland "duff" as a mulch-blanket around the base of each tree will help....it'll also stabilize soil moisture levels, prevent weed competition and make it feel a little more at home. Good Luck! Fred
10/16/00 i have transplanted some douglas firs what do i need to keep them going i need all the help i can get thanks a million ken
RUBBER TREE (FICUS ELASTICA)Debbie....Thanks for your question. Branches of rubber plant (Ficus elastica) can be cut back to a more appropriate length by using either a clean, sharp knife, or very sharp pruning shears. Cuts have a tendency to bleed sap when cut, so it'd be a good idea to have some Rootone handy to liberally dust the fresh wounds. (to aid in the callusing process). Keep in mind that pruning will likely result in heavier branching just below the cuts...making a wider - rather than taller - plant as it re-grows. I think you can safely take about 50% off without endangering its health...but be cautious, planned and very deliberate. It only takes a few seconds to cut a branch off....it may take years to grow back again. Fred
10/10/00 Hi, We are bringing our rubber tree back inside, gradually, after a spring and summer outdoors on the porch. It is in the garage now. It has grown , out, very wide and needs trimming. How far back can we trim without shocking it to death? Any help or insight would be appreciated. We enjoy the info on your site and hope you can advise. Thank you, Debbie
Struggling Rose Bush
(7/28/01) Hi! I really enjoyed your site. I just started getting into flowers and gardening. I don't know that much about them and have a lot to learn. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me what rose bushes need for food. I just planted a couple two weeks ago they look all droopy. I've been watering them every day just about, plus we have been getting plenty of rain so maybe you can give me some advise. Thank You. Kimberly
Greetings, Kimberly! Thank you for your kind thoughts and question. Sounds to me like the roses you just planted were in full foliage (and probably flower) when they went in. Not a bad thing...but generally, when a plant is disrupted -- unless it was simply slid out of a pot without the soil falling away from the roots, then into the ground -- it's wise to remove some of the top stress: flowers and some of the newest upper stems. With damaged roots not being able to support all that top growth, you have to compensate. Take some of the top...and all the flowers and buds...off...to give it a break for a while until it recovers.
The next thing may actually be a bit too much water. Keep the soil damp...but not soppy-wet.
Any large garden center, farm 'n garden or big-box store (like WalMart, Lowe's or Home Depot) will have small-ish boxes of fertilizer blended specifically for roses. Go easy this first year...use about two-thirds the amount the directions specify....and make sure to cultivate it in 3 or 4 inches before you water it down.
There is a possibility it may have some root-rot, but unlikely. If it does, there'll be no recovery.
A final possibility is urine from yours or a neighbor's dog. Dog urine is especially destructive and can reduce a struggling shrub to dry twigs in a very few days.
If the plant dies after reasonable care and maintenance in your garden (and assuming it wasn't the result of pet urine), you have a consumer's right -- if not a duty -- to return the plant, label and receipt to the place where you bought it, and ask for a replacement or refund. If they refuse, don't shop there any more...and be very vocal about it. Fred
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