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DALLAS MORNING NEWS – MARCH 13, 2019


Photinia, Roses and Oaks – Bad Advice Continues


There are two approaches that can be taken in all three cases. 


The key for red tip photinia (Photinia fraseri) health is well-drained, biologically alive soil. The process we find helpful is called the Sick Tree Treatment. The procedure starts by removing the soil and mulch from bases of plants. Doing this root flare exposure in a dramatic fashion is the most important step of the Sick Tree Treatment. Next, aerate the root zone soil and then broadcast-apply the same amendments we use for bed preparation – compost, rock minerals and microbe stimulators such as whole ground cornmeal. 

Photinias are susceptible to red tip photinia disease
Photinias are susceptible to red tip photinia disease

Although this procedure (not a product by the way) works beautifully, there is a more foolproof solution - plant a different kind of photinia in the first place. Red tip photinias were bred from this better choice. Chinese photinia (Photinia serrulata) is a good-looking, tough, trouble-free evergreen with pretty new foliage growth in the spring followed by dramatic white flowers. Unfortunately, this terrific, large-growing shrub or small tree is not as easy to find in the nurseries as the red tips. It is available, however, if the nurseries will simply request it from growers. 

Chinese photinia (Photinia serrulata) is a good-looking, tough, trouble-free evergreen with pretty new foliage growth in the spring followed by dramatic white flowers
Chinese photinia  

 

Roses

It is equally sad that much the plant industry still recommends completely removing roses with rose rosette symptoms without even trying to save them first. I agree that the toxic chemical disease control products have no helpful effect on this viral disease. But, the Sick Tree Treatment, once again, can help these sick plants if applied properly. Using hydrogen peroxide sprays as part of the treatment in the case of roses is important. Hydrogen peroxide spraying alone will not solve the problem, but it is an important part of the solution process. Roses on their own roots tend to resist this disease, but to avoid dealing with the issue for sure, try abelias instead. They bloom all summer and have few problems.

Roses with rose rosette symptoms
Roses with rose rosette symptoms

 

Oak trees


Red oak trees are susceptible to oak wilt disease
Red oak trees are susceptible to oak wilt disease

Mexican white oak is not susceptible to oak wilt disease
Mexican white oak is not susceptible to oak wilt disease

 

 

Oak wilt on red oaks and live oaks also fits in this conversation because the chemical injection recommendations do not work well, especially on infected trees. The Sick Tree Treatment can prevent and even reverse symptoms if done correctly. On the other hand, since live oaks and red oaks are by far the most susceptible to this serious disease, why not consider planting oaks or other trees that are not susceptible? Lacey oak, Mexican white oak and other white oaks are apparently not susceptible. Neither are elm, maple, cypress, cedar, sycamore and most other species of trees.

The choices are yours. 

 


 

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