Your Questions About How To Conserve Water Outdoors

Maria asks…

What are some good tips for climbing roses outdoors?

I live near the ocean and most of my backyard is sand. I want to plant some climbing rose bushes out back against our fence. I have never done this before and i need some tips in order to keep them growing and blooming the correct way. How do i get them to grow against the fence ? What month is best ( in Florida) to plant these. Help please.

admin answers:

I don’t know where in Florida you are, but if you are close to the coast, you will need to amend the soil with some organic matter like compost so the soil will hold water and nutrients. Sandy soil is pretty sterile otherwise, and roses are fertilizer pigs.

You can plant roses any time except the height of summer. They will adjust best in fall through late spring–now is a great time to get them started.

You already have a fence, so decide what you want to use for support. You can purchase a separate trellis, or just attach some heavy wires to the fence to train the rose canes (branches) through. Be sure the supports are sturdy thought. You want the canes to be secure so a good windstorm won’t knock it over. If you opt for a trellis, be sure to wire or bolt it to the fence, or find some other way to keep it in place.

Once you have some type of support for the canes, then amend your soil and plant your rose being careful not to bury it–the stems should be above ground where the soil was in the pot. Lots of people bury plants by putting them in the soil too deeply, just keep the soil level the same as it is in the pot.

Once rosa is planted, apply a nice mulch on the top of the soil to keep down weeds, conserve water, and cool the soil. Be sure to have some sort of boundary between the rose bush and the grass–it is no fun weeding among thorns.

As the bush grows, weave the canes through your supports so it is trained to look how you want. Despite their reputation, roses are very sturdy. I moved three rose bushes 1,000 miles in a sealed box in a moving van and eight years later they are still alive and well. You won’t kill it by training it. If a branch breaks, cut it cleanly with pruners and try again with the next one.

Roses do die of thirst and neglect. They are hungry and must be fertilized regularly in order to bloom. Florida has several different climates based on location, so I would talk to your local nursery about when you should fertilize, and when you should let the plant rest. There are hundreds of books on rose gardening, a trip to the local library should be helpful in learning more on rose culture, how to properly prune roses, and tips on selecting varieties for your area.

One word of caution if you are close to the coast, salt spray is not a friend of roses. The salt will build up in the soil and the roses may never be what you are dreaming of regardless of how well you care for them. If you have any concerns, try one or two roses and see how they do. Bougainville is a beautiful vine with gorgeous color that loves hot and humid weather–and doesn’t mind sandy, salty areas.

Good luck and happy gardening.

Ruth asks…

How do you take care of a bird of paradise plant…seems to be always, the birds are wilting?

I have two of them in my yard and they get water but still don’t get new sprouts

admin answers:

Bird of Paradise plants (Strelitzia reginae) survive outdoors year round in hardiness zones 9-11. They should be planted in a location that receives direct sunlight to light shade. Be sure your plants are in rich, organic soil with good drainage.

Here are some Basic Care and Maintenance Tips:

– Remove dead leaves and old flower stalks to keep plant healthy.

– Place a 3-4 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture and prevent weed infestation.

– Apply a slow-release fertilizer every three months to full grown plants.

– Water frequently during warmer temperatures. During colder months, water when the soil is dry.

For more information on Bird of Paradise care, you can visit:

http://www.tropical-plants-and-flowers-guide.com/bird-of-paradise-plant.html

Thomas asks…

Do blood orange trees need cross pollination in coastal California? If so, what is the cross pollinator?

I live in Pacifica CA and I am trying to grow a blood orange tree in a very large pot outdoors. Additionally, it appears that some of the leaves at the top of the tree are curling but I don’t see any pests.

admin answers:

I have looked on a few sites for you, and I cannot find anything that mentions cross-pollination.
Are you asking because your fruit is not red, or you have no fruit at all? If you have no fruit at all, did you grow it from a seedling? (they can take 2 – 15 yrs to yield a crop)

Here are some quotes and links:
Blood oranges are supposed to have a dark rose pulp, but this can be modified by climate. In Southern California, the typical pulp color occurs when blood oranges are raised in desert areas, e.g., in the Coachella Valley, but homeowners who grow blood oranges in coastal Orange and Los Angeles County are disappointed to discover that the pulp is orange, not red.
Quoted from: http://www.botgard.ucla.edu/html/botanytextbooks/economicbotany/Citrus/b1239tx.html

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Healthy trees and a sweet, delicious harvest are the goal as you tend your oranges throughout the year.

Steps:
1. Purchase an orange variety adapted to your area. For example, Washington navels grow well in California, while Valencia oranges are adapted to Arizona, Texas and Florida, as well as California.

2. Plant the tree in a warm, sunny area where the soil drains well.

3. Mulch to conserve water.

4. Water the tree deeply once every 7 to 10 days in midsummer. Water less often if it rains or if the weather is cool.

5. Fertilize every four to six weeks from February to August.

6. Protect trees from frost if temperatures are forecast to drop below 28 degrees F.

7. Harvest oranges when they taste sweet. Timing will vary by variety and growing area.

TIPS:
Most nurseries in citrus-growing regions offer a nice selection of container-grown orange trees.

You can grow citrus from seeds, but there’s no guarantee that the seedling will be identical to its parent. A seedling can take from 2 to 15 years to bear fruit.

Warnings:
The more likely that winter temperatures will fall below 28 degrees F where you live, the less likely you’ll harvest a quality crop.
Quoted from:
http://www.ehow.com/how_3628_grow-orange-trees.html

Daniel asks…

What can I do to help a frost damaged lemon tree?

The leafs have all curled up and it looks so sorry for itself.
I’ve brought it indoors, but don’t know what I should do now, should I cut it right back?
(Leaves …sorry)

admin answers:

My lemon has been mostly outdoors this year, in central England, though I brought it in this morning, after seeing one leaf had fallen off it. It did get frosted a few weeks ago, in the harsh frosts, and I brought it inside, and kept it watered. Its foliage will have adapted to outdoors conditions, so indoor dry heat will quickly dry its leaves, so keep it watered, and in a room that’s not too hot until the weather subsides, is my advice. What foliage has died can be removed later on, but be wary of cutting into its stems, which will likely re-sprout, unless they were killed by freezing too. It’s too easy to harm them by removing too much, too quickly, and result in a ‘bonsaid’ tree, which has lost some of its natural energy through too harsh a pruning.

Depending on your location and weather, either keep it frost free in a cool indoors location, or return it gradually to outdoors, by ‘hardening it off’ a few hours a day, when the weather isn’t freezing.

My lemon’s lived entire winters outdoors, most of the last 5 years or so, and it’s been fine. Individual plants, like us humans, each have differing temperaments, some are hardier than others, even within the same variety.

You can make an outdoor spot that’s a little more sheltered, by adding some wind protection, gardener’s fleece over it – which keeps temperatures below a few degrees warmer, or even enclosing your plant further.

Its leaves will naturally fall off, when dead, and may help conserve a little warmth too, whilst clinging on. Don’t rush to remove them, unless they pose a threat due to decay etc, to healthier tissue.

The advice on not pruning back until later in winter/early spring holds for most plants that are damaged by cold/frost, as pruning can inadvertently force new growth, which would be even more susceptible to cold damage than previous season’s growth.

Hope this helps. Good luck! Rob

George asks…

How to care for Easter Lillies — after the blooms are gone?

Also, are they poisonous, especially to cats?Thanks!

admin answers:

You should be able to plant it outside in your garden. Personally I am involved in the ornamental plant industry and can’t stand them.

Planting Easter Lilies Outside
It is very difficult to force Easter lilies into bloom a second time indoors. An alternative is to plant them outdoors in Spring, where they may bloom again in summer or Fall. The plants will need a site with bright light but some shelter from extreme heat and wind.

Plant the Easter Lily bulbs 3 inches below ground level, and mound up an additional 3 inches of topsoil over the bulb. Plant bulbs at least 12 to 18 inches apart in a hole sufficiently deep so that the bulbs can be placed in it with the roots spread out and down, as they naturally grow. Spread the roots and work prepared soil in around the bulbs and the roots, leaving no air pockets. Water immediately and thoroughly after planting.

As the original plants begin to die back, cut the stems down to the soil surface. New growth will soon emerge. The Easter Lilies, which were forced to bloom under controlled greenhouse conditions in March, bloom naturally in the summer. So, you may be rewarded with a second bloom later in the summer or possibly even the following summer (depending on temperatures and conditions in your area).

Another planting tip to consider is that lilies like their roots in shade and their heads in the sun. Use mulching to help conserve moisture. Or, plant a “living mulch” of shallow-rooted, complementary annuals or perennials. Stately Easter Lilies rising above lacy violas or primulas is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also good gardening.

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