Plant Clinic

This section of the website is dedicated to the material that I use in my lectures and plant clinics. Please be aware that much of the material may be in an outline form and may not explain as fully as you want. You do have the ability to email me from this website and feel free to do so. I will return your queries but I may only pick up the emails once a week. --Terri

Rose Tea

Rose Tea

32-gallon trash barrel

12 c. alfalfa pellets

Fill with water, stir and cover for several days. Use a broom handle and stir every couple of days.


1/3 c. chelated iron

½ c. Epsom salts

1 c. 20/20/20 soluble fertilizer w/trace elements

Stir and feed 1 gallon to each rose; ½ gallon to each mini.

What makes it work? Triacontanol, a growth hormone in alfalfa, makes soil/nutrient process work better for the rose’s benefit.

Puchase at a farm feed store.

From an article printed in American Rose: Rosarian Ramblings

Secret Soil Recipe/Acid loving plant fertilizer

Secret Soil Recipe

Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

Compost: 2-inches

Peat moss: 2-inches

8-32-16 fertilizer: 1 ¼ lbs per 100 sq. ft.

Perennials should double or treble in size their first year in this mix

Won’t need to do this for another five years

In a new bed, blend in each ingredient separately, turning with a spading fork or shovel 12-inches deep

To get the fertilizer mix 2 lbs of super phosphate (0-20-0)

2 lbs of balanced fertilizer (5-10-5)

Acid loving plant fertilizer

Fertilize annually

1/3 cottonseed meal (or composted meal)

1/3 alfalfa meal (pellets)

1/3 pelletized sulfur


Iron Chlorosis*

Iron Chlorosis*

By Dr. Gene Holm, Mini-Cassia Master Gardener

Iron is necessary for the formation of chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green color in plants and is the source of plant food and energy. When the amount of iron available to plants is inadequate for normal growth, leaves become pale yellow, yellow or white and eventually brown, particularly between the veins. Mildly affected plants become unsightly and grow poorly. Severely affected plants fail to grow flower or fruit and may even die from lack of iron.

Iron chlorosis may occur as a result on one or a combination of causes. The condition is often due to high pH, which makes it possible for other elements to interfere with the absorption of iron, rather than a lack of iron in the soil. This occurs in neutral to alkaline soils when the pH is above 6.5.

Chlorosis may be cause by an actual deficiency of iron or by application of excessive amounts of lime or phosphate to certain soils. It may be caused by over-watering, poor drainage or high levels of certain mineral elements in the soil such as manganese, copper or zinc.

The pH, particularly in southern Idaho, is quite often above 7. For permanent control, this must be lowered by annually applying to the soil ammonium sulfate, aluminum sulfate or sulfur.

Once other possible causes have been corrected, application of iron may not be needed. If, however, plants remain chlorotic, iron can be supplied to plants in different forms.

The two principal types of iron-containing materials are iron chelates, organic in nature, and inorganic compounds in soluble form such as ferrous sulfate. Iron chelates are marketed under various trade names and in various formulations. The iron in chelates remains available to plants when the chelates are placed in the soil. Some formulation of iron chelate can be applied to the foliage; however, this approach is usually not as permanent as soil applications. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for amount of use. Some fertilizers contain iron chelates, and use of these with plants susceptible to iron deficiency is recommended. Ferrous sulfate can also be applied to the soil or foliage.

When leaves of plants become chlorotic, always determine the primary cause then take the necessary steps to prevent further damage.

For a severe case of chlorosis, use one of the following products: Acid Iron, for trees and shrubs, from Landview Chemical, located in Minidoka. Their fieldmen will deliver. It has manganese in it and should not be used in consecutive years. Sulfegro from Simplots between Rupert and Heyburn.

These products are expensive but turnaround is 7 to 10 days. If you use chelated iron, while cheaper, you may need multiple treatments and may take 3-4 weeks before seeing a noticeable difference.

*ref. Ohio Stat University Extension Fact Sheet

Fall Clean Up and Winter Protection

1. Weed control

Haul out or burn (compost?)


Day temps above 50°

2. Fertilize lawn

Low nitrogen and high phosphate

Two feedings a year

3. Deep water trees and shrubs

Evergreen trees until it freezes

Deciduous trees until they drop their leaves

4. Divide perennials

Spring blooming in the fall/fall blooming in the spring

Amend the soil

5. Plant spring bulbs

Plant tulips with base at 9-inches/daffodils at 10-inches

6. Lift tender bulbs and corms for storage

Cannas, gladiolus, dahlias

Dahlias require being frozen down before digging and storing

Rinse soil from bulbs and allow to dry before storing

7. Remove and destroy diseased plants

8. Clean up debris and tools

Remove dirt and sap from tools

Fine grit sandpaper for wood tool handles

Linseed oil for wood handles

Run gas out of engines/change oil

Sharpen nippers, loppers, saws and blades

Hang up tools out of the weather

Roll-up your hoses and make sure they are empty

9. Bring in tender plants

Take cuttings

Give them a haircut

Cut back on fertilizer and water

10. Turn compost pile

Make sure you have the proper proportion of green to brown matter

11. Apply mulch

After the ground freezes

Mulch is to keep the ground from thawing, not to keep it from freezing

12. Apply wind protection around tender shrubs

Japanese maples require burlap around their trunks first couple of years

13. Plant Amaryllis

For Thanksgiving bloom, plant in early October

For Christmas bloom, plant in late November

Keep them in a cool room out of direct light until they begin growing

14. Plant garlic and spinach in the fall for spring harvesting

15. Prepare your roses for winter

16. Begin planning your garden for next year

17. Catalogs