Extension News

Ask the ISU Experts

Note to media editors:

Got gardening questions? Contact the Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4:30 p.m.) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online at www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu



When should I harvest sour cherries? 
Sour or pie cherries should be harvested when the fruit are full-flavored, somewhat soft, and juicy. (Cherries picked before they are mature will not ripen off the tree.) For immediate use, the cherries can be picked without the stems attached to the fruit. However, quality is best retained during storage if the fruit are harvested with the stems attached.  Refrigerate cherries at 35 to 40 degrees F.

Can roses be propagated from cuttings? 
In the Midwest, it’s generally not feasible to propagate modern roses, such as hybrid teas, grandifloras and floribundas, from cuttings. Cutting-grown plants are weak growers and not reliably cold hardy. Hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas are propagated by budding the desired variety onto vigorous, hardy rose rootstocks. 

Many old fashioned shrub roses can be propagated from softwood cuttings. Softwood rose cuttings are typically made in June and July from the current season’s growth. The cuttings should be approximately 6 to 8 inches long. After the cuttings are removed from the parent plant, pinch off the lower leaves on each cutting. Dip the cut end of each cutting into a rooting hormone, then insert the cuttings into a rooting medium of coarse sand and peat moss. After inserting the cuttings, moisten the rooting medium, then place a clear plastic bag over the container and cuttings. Place the cuttings in bright light, but not direct sunlight. The cuttings should root in six to eight weeks.

Why are my hosta leaves getting riddled with holes?
The holes in your hosta foliage may have been created by slugs. Slugs are close relatives of snails. They have soft, slimy bodies that range in color from light gray to brown. Slugs feed at night and eat irregular holes in plant foliage. You can check for slugs by going out at night with a flashlight. Slugs require a damp environment.

In Iowa, the slug population and resulting plant damage is highest during and immediately after a prolonged period of wet weather. Small numbers of slugs can be controlled by handpicking. Cleaning up the garden and removing slug hiding places, such as leaf litter and other plant debris, can also be helpful. Slug baits are usually necessary to control large slug populations. Commonly available products contain either metaldehyde or iron phosphate. 


Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing,  (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu