Roses around the area are falling victim the virus “Rose Rosette” which will eventually kill the whole plant. There are no treatments or no resistant varieties at this time. The virus is spread around by a small mite called “eriophyoid mite” which is about only a quarter size of a spider mite that most gardeners may be familiar with to compare the two insects.

                The virus was first found on wild roses which are known as a noxious weed in most states. There was joy that there was a natural control for the wild roses until it set its sights on the prized garden rose. Once the plant is infected it is too late. It is a systemic to the plant which means it will spread all the way down to the root system. There is now way to prune out the disease. One bite from the eriophyoid mite and it`s all over. The disease is also being spread by the means of grafting which a lot of greenhouses do to cross bread different variety of roses. Make sure to purchase your plants from a reputable nursery. The only means to control the disease is to remove the whole plant along with the root system once discovered.

                Symptoms are very noticeable on the plant once it is infected. Leaves will become malformed as if the plant has an herbicide burn from pesticides. Large thorns will be produced up by purple stems that would naturally usually bloom as flowers. This is usually known as “Witches Broom” on the plant. The plant will eventually stop flowering and eventually die. There is no known control of the virus at this time. So keep an eye on your garden these days and keep your fingers crossed the virus passes you by.

Photo Credit:
University of Missouri Extension - Chris Starbuck
The typical summer heat is here along with heat stress for your lawn. With all the moisture we saw in May and June root systems haven`t had time to grow deep enough to counter balance the heat. The lawn may of looked great on top but down below the roots were not able to prepare for the heat. An infection of Brown Patch too has been seen around the area. This has caused a lot of lawns to be stressed out long with the heat. These are favorable conditions for weeds to flourish in.

            There are a couple of things that can be done to help your lawn through these hard times. Avoid fertilizing cool season lawns in the summer like Tall Fescue & Kentucky Blue Grass. Fertilizing in the summer promotes shoot growth on the turf grasses which in turn can harm the lawn. Try to water in the early mornings to wash off the morning dew and long deep watering's are better than short frequent bursts of moisture. A lawn usually requires about 1-2” of moisture per week. Watering for longer periods causes the root system to grow towards the moisture in the ground giving the lawn a better resilience against the hot months. Deep watering’s spread out every 7-10 days are advisable. Make sure to keep a clean, sharp blade on the mower that provides a clean cut across the lawn. Typically a blade will need to be sharpened about 3-4 times during a growing season for a homeowner. If you run across rocks and sticks more sharpening’s will be needed. A dull blade will leave the lawn with torn up leaf blades which can invite in fungus & disease on the lawn.

            Just a couple of things to help your lawn through these rough times with the heat and a decrease in rain. A fall over seeding will help to fill in bare spots in the lawn. Aeration of all lawns is recommended as the ground has been more compacted as homeowners and lawn care operators got out when they could to cut the lawn during the breaks in rain we saw in May & June. Cutting in wet conditions causes ground compaction as the mower went across it. For any questions or help just let us know.