Propagating Roses & Aerating A Lawn

Question:

I’d like some help on how to root cuttings from a special rose. In the past, I’ve waited and waited as long as six weeks and still nothing. I’m usually pretty good at propagating plants, but roses sure frustrate me. So, how would I know when the cuttings are rooted?     

Answer:

  • Yes, rooting roses can be very challenging for gardeners. Miniature roses are the quickest and easiest to root while you’ll have to be really patient with Hybrid Teas, Grandiflora and other types of roses.
  • Six weeks may not be long enough to root these cuttings. I think eight weeks is more the norm. Many a cutting has been lost due to an eager gardener checking for roots. Also, a cutting producing new growth doesn’t necessarily mean that the cutting has rooted. This growth eventually collapses without the formation of any new roots, and the main cutting shrivels and turns black from dehydration.
  • When rooting rose cuttings, I’d used a four-inch or six-inch pot, filled with pre-moisten potting soil.  There are other rooting medias available such as perlite, sand or Vermitculite but I prefer any of the commercial potting soils.
    • Next, I select a bunch of cuttings from the new growth to root. Many more than I will need so I can transplant the most vigorous from the group.
    •  I'd create a mini greenhouse by covering the pot of cuttings with a plastic baggie that is supported with a few short bamboo stakes. The baggie is secured with a rubber band or string. This mini greenhouse will trap the moisture, so I don't have to water again.
    • I'd place the cuttings outdoors in a warm area that receives little direct sun. In addition to moisture, heat is trapped which is essential in rooting rose cuttings as they like moist warm conditions.
    • I'd use the resistant test to indicate when they’re rooted. Before rooting, the cuttings slide in and out of the potting soil very quickly. With roots, resistance develops when you gently pull on them.
    • Another solution would be to root the cuttings in a clear container, such as a plastic cup. If you’re rooting rose cutting indoors,
    • I suggest you place the containers on a heating mat.  They are inexpensive and available at many independent garden centers or online from Hydro Farms. For more information, google Hydro Farms Heating Mats. 
  •  Again, I would figure on an eight-week rooting period. 

Question:

I’m looking to improve the drainage in my lawn.  Is it better to spike it or take a soil core out with one of those aeration machines?       

Answer:

  • With clay soil, removing a plug or core is preferred over spiking. Spiking separates the soil particles with a temporary gap. Within days, the gap closes up while the space created by removing the plugs takes much longer to refill.
  • To extend the improved drainage, top dress the lawn with compost or a soil conditioner. The organic matter fills in the holes and over time improve the soil texture