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GARDEN JOBS

For a Rosy Future

August 17, 1986|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT and BILL SIDNAM

With roses, do the little chores that will assure beautiful fall bloom. Roses always bloom at the tips of healthy branches; little spindly branches, usually at the bush's center, only sap strength and should be cut out. For every set of crisscrossed branches, eliminate one. A little shaping will help this month, but don't do any drastic pruning; save that for January. Fertilize the bushes with rose food, and keep them well watered through September.

Tomato and cabbage worms are at their peak now. Anyone who has grown tomatoe plants knows the damage that tomato hornworms can do in a short period of time. Cabbage worms devour other vegetables, too, particularly beans. You can easily control both pests by spraying every 10 days with Dipel or Thuricide. These products will not harm warm-blooded animals or beneficial insects.

Blood orange trees are seen more in local nurseries as demand for them increases. The little-known blood orange is a marvelous citrus tree for Southland gardens. It is so named because of the color of its flesh and juice, which ranges from a reddish orange to a deep burgundy. The rind color is orange, with splashes of deep red. This fruit is used primarily for its juice, which could be described as a combination of orange and wild berry. When the fruit is available in specialty produce markets, it commands a lofty price, often exceeding $3 per pound.

The blood orange tree has a culture similar to other orange trees. The three varieties--'Moro,' 'Sanguinelli' and 'Tarocco'--are all good producers and attractive trees. 'Moro,' the one you'll find most often in the nurseries, is available in both standard and semi-dwarf trees.

Grow herbs in flue liners, ideal planters for them; you can find flue liners in various sizes at most building-supply stores. Filled with a potting soil to which a time-release fertilizer has been added and planted with herbs, they are attractive when they're spaced throughout a vegetable or flower garden. Because the plants are in individual containers above ground level, excellent drainage is assured. Weed problems also are greatly reduced, and harvesting is easier.

House plants should be given some attention now. If a dieffenbachia has become too tall and ungainly, give it a new lease on life by cutting off the top and placing it in a potting medium with good drainage. With care, it will soon re-establish. Take the length of trunk between the top and what is left in the pot, cut it into sections, and lay them horizontally in a starting medium. Under good conditions, each piece will make a new plant. The part left in the pot will usually send up several new shoots from the buds on the side of the trunk. A split-leaf philodendron's leaves won't split if it's not getting enough food or if it has outgrown its pot. Cuttings from philodendron, pothos or nephytis will root easily, even in a bottle of water. When you're cleaning up African violets, streptocarpus or gloxinia, you can start new plants from the leaves by placing the stem ends into the soil all the way up to the leaf.

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