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Listen to April rose care tips

Sac Digs Gardening's Arrington is guest on Farmer Fred's podcast

Dark red rose bloom with yellow stamens
Night Owl is one of Debbie Arrington's many roses.The master rosarian talks
April rose care with Fred Hoffman on his Green Acres podcast. (Photo: Debbie

So much growth! So many bugs!

April is among the most active months in the rose garden. Thankfully, the bushes are doing most of the work, pushing out leaves and their first buds of spring. They just need some fertilizer, proper irrigation and a watchful eye.

Along with that big burst of bloom comes problem pests and disease. Rapid spring growth is a magnet for aphids. Hot, dry, dusty conditions can lead to spider mite infestations. And current temperatures are just right for outbreaks of powdery mildew and blackspot.

That gave host Farmer Fred Hoffman and myself plenty to talk about when I was his most recent guest on his “Green Acres Garden Podcast with Farmer Fred.”

“Among the topics we talked about include controlling aphids, powdery mildew, spider mites and black spot; choosing the right fertilizers for your roses; tips on correct watering of roses in the ground or in containers – all great topics,” Hoffman said.

What do you do when you see aphids nibbling on rose buds? Blast them off with a strong stream of water from the hose; their soft bodies won’t survive the impact. Also effective: A few squirts of insecticidal soap.

But watch out for ants. Where there are aphids, ants often led them there. Controlling ants in the rose garden can help cut down on aphid problems, too.

Listen to the full podcast here:

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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