Catching Up (part 1)

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003 – 5:30pm

2003-01-14 5:30

Long Overdue Update

Ok, I have not written in quite a while. [sigh] About my only excuse is the holidays had me distracted from the roses.

Ok, so how is the rose garden doing, you ask? Read On!

The Ice Storm

The first week of December presented us with a wondrous coating of ice on all the trees and anything else outside. This storm hit the area pretty hard; at the height of the storm, more than a million customers were without power. As it was, I was without power from about 1am Thursday morning until mid-afternoon on Friday. I was lucky. Much of the Triangle area fared far worse. That is not to say that I came through unscathed. Because we had had a fairly warm fall, the Bradford Pear in the backyard still had most of its leaves. These served as surfaces for the accumulation of ice. Bradford Pears have a tendency to be fragile anyway and this just compounded the problem. So… I lost two BIG branches all the way back to the trunk. I am going to give it a year to see how it looks but I may have to replace it. [sigh]

As for the roses, they seem to fare ok. I did get some breakage of canes on some bushes but nothing too bad. Fortunately, most of them didn’t have too many leaves at that point. I did take some pictures which I will post links to in a later entry. Some of the more interesting were some of the blooms that were encased in ice.

Pruning and the Demise of a Sprayer

So, after the ice storm, I had to spend some time doing yard work. Saturday was Unevent up in Williamsburg, VA and I got back from VA about mid afternoon on Sunday. Clearing the downed branches of the pear tree until dark. The following weekend, I did the initial pruning of the rose bushes…. this consisted of cutting everything back to about chest high. This prevents the long canes from blowing in the wind and rocking the bush loose in the ground and also minimizes the damage if we get another ice storm. Why not just cut them back all the way? Well, one will get some winter die-back and if we get warm weather at some point (like we did), buds will show up at the ends. If one prunes all the way back, the stuff that gets killed during the freezes will be what you really want to grown come spring. This way, what gets killed by freezes would get pruned off anyway. Planning ahead! [grin] The bush that suffered the most breakage from the ice was King of Hearts but considering it is also one of the biggest and most vigorous bushes, that wasn’t a problem. It still has a lot of nice big canes on it. (and boy are they thorny!).

After pruning, I suited up to do some winter spraying. One of the recommended things is to do two applications of Lime-Sulphur Spray ; one in December and the second in January. The particular formula I have does not recommend mixing with dormant oil so I will have to do that separately. So, I went out to the one store I know that has the stuff (Family Home and Garden); for some reason, the Home Depots and Lowes don’t carry it… at least not in Cary. Since it is used on fruit trees, maybe those stores in more rural areas do so. [shrug] The concentrate for spray is a dark orange and come out yellow when you spray…. it also smells like Hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs) when applied so it REALLY pays to wear the respirator. I got the batch mixed up in my 2 gallon spray which was nice because I could just pour the whole 32 oz bottle of concentrate into the sprayer… for dormant applications, it is mixed at a concentration of 16 oz/gallon. That’s when I made my mistake. The last time I had used the sprayer, it had sat out to dry for an “extended” period of time (read several weeks) and I should have rinsed it out before I started. It had some gunk (pieces of grass and other detritus) in it and I found that after spraying a couple of bushes, I was getting less and less out of the sprayer. The problem was not pressure, I had plenty of that. Obviously some of the gunk had gotten into the spray nossile and it was clogged. [ARRRGGGHH]

Now what? I figured that I would just go get other sprayer and a strainer to catch the gunk. This I did but by the time I got back, it was dark. As it was, I didn’t have a chance to get back to the project until just before Christmas. Ok, that was mistake #2 (but who is keeping score??).

So, here I am, running around trying to get stuff done before going out of town for the holidays and one of the things on my list was to actually do the spraying. When I examined the solution in the old, clogged sprayer, I noticed that it had now turned cloudy… Oooo! that is probably not a good thing…. Hmmm, it seems to have precipitated out some stuff… another bad sign. Ok, this batch is no good… so I took it out to the “back 40” and dumped it in the weeds there. Now to wash out and try to clear the blockage… well, when I filled it up, I could not get pressure. ARRGGGHHH! it seems that the solution disolved some gaskets or something. In a word, the sprayer was shot. [sigh] Well, I guess the spraying will have to wait until AFTER the holidays….

To Be Continued….

This entry looks like it is pretty long so I am going to post this and continue with rest of my “catch up” later (hopefully tomorrow!)

Until then….

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