Another reason why we prune roses in Jan(& Feb) in SoCal is to get rid of diseases. If you've been following along this month you've seen the many things I've found while pruning roses. I love detective work! This photo shows the fungal disease called Rust on the underside of rose leaves. I think that it looks like Cheese Puff dust! But it's yucky and blows all over when disturbed. Sometimes the orange parts turn black too. It won't kill a plant. But it will make the leaves look crappy and lots may fall off prematurely. Be sure to strip all the leaves off your rose when pruning. You might be able to prevent this by diligent fungicide spraying from Spring- Autumn. I am a terrible sprayer.
Here is another reason to prune your roses this time of year. I keep finding more bugs that were hiding. This is a disgusting bug called Cottony Cushion Scale. I don't know how the move. I've never seen it happen. Scale is usually a barnacle like insect that sucks the juices from a plant. These are just gross. They're squishy so you can brush them off or blast them with a hose. I just read about their life cycle and am even more grossed out. Ick! Either blast them or spray with an insecticide or cut off the branch and dispose.
Just a spot of SoCal January color for all of you in cold climates. This is a wonderful vine called Pyrostegia venusta or Flame Vine. Native to South America, it likes sandy soil which I HAVE! Yay! I planted it in our new garden last Spring. It has almost covered the low chain link fence between our yard and our neighbors driveway and it just started blooming! Love that orange!
Just want to give you all a heads up for another bug in the garden. This one is not good. It's the eggs of a Katydid. The mature insect is like a grasshopper but all green and slimmer. You'll see them in Spring, Summer and Fall. And they make a squeaky sound. This photo is of eggs found on a rose branch lying on my glove. They lay them like barnacles or roofing tiles. You could break each flat egg off. But it's usually easier just to cut off the branch and throw it away. Katydids eat roses! I hate them as any gardener should!
When you're rose pruning this month watch for this! It's a praying mantis egg case. You'll want to keep it because praying mantis are good bugs that eat the bad bugs. But that's a whole other blog post. The egg case will be "glued" to a branch. And because praying mantis enjoy hanging out in roses, you might find one in your clippings. Don't throw it away! I take the clipped branch(home from a job) and tape it to a stake or branch where I can watch it. Sometimes it's difficult to tell an old egg case from a new one. The older ones are browner and if you look closely you might see little pinholes from where the babies hatched. New ones are whiteish. Baby mantis hatch in March or April in SoCal. I've only seen fresh babies once when I was super lucky. They'll be as tiny as an ant but fully formed and maybe 100 of them! There'll be little bits of debris hanging from the egg case. Then you'll know that you missed it. Watch for them as they're fabulous!
It's New Years Day, the first day of 2012 and my Daddy's birthday. Here is a beautiful rose to share at one of my jobs. I started rose pruning last week because I have so many jobs plus my own roses that I probably won't get to until the end of the month. This is just a reminder to prune your roses this month if you live in SoCal. I'll be posting more about it soon because that's pretty much all I'm about in January.