question regarding backyard plant maintenance and pest management for shaded area

Asked August 17, 2020, 10:52 PM EDT

Specifically how to manage the plants I have currently, what sort of soil and pest management techniques should I consider etc. additionally we are observing black spots on our rose plants and have tried different solutions without much success. I would like to connect with a master gardener to understand how to manage the backyard plants if possible.

Washington County Oregon

4 Responses

You have made a great start on your back yard, with good organization, structure and set up. The best way to manage the plants in this space is to set it up right in the first place, which you've taken several important steps towards. One of the basics, as you've mentioned is soil. This would be a great time to do a soil analysis. It's not expensive, and will let you know the pH, organic content, and basic elements of your soil. There are several labs that can do a soil analysis, but this one has offices in the Portland area, A&L Laboratories http://www.al-labs-west.com/services.php?section=Soil%20Analysis. For a couple of dollars extra they will let you know any deficiencies and excesses you have with suggestions on how to manage those.

The second fundamental management strategy is "right plant right place". Select plants that will do well in your space, so, plants that like shady conditions. This site, Great Plant Picks http://www.greatplantpicks.org/plantlists/search/, is managed by professionals working with the Elizabeth C. Miller Botanical Gardens in Seattle. The plants all do well here in the Pacific Northwest. The site has pictures, growing conditions and even suggestions on companion plantings for each plant. You have a lovely woodland setting for your yard. You might want to include some Oregon native shade plants, like ferns, trillium, penstamons, bleeding heart, etc.. This booklet has other suggestions, Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards https://www.oregonmetro.gov/sites/default/files/2014/04/01/native_plants_for_willamette_valley_yards_booklet.pdf.

Pest management is easiest with healthy plants that are strong enough to withstand challenges. One pest you will have to watch out for is, of course, slugs. They prefer moist, cool, dark spaces. This pamphlet gives good information on preventing slug damage and methods for control, How to Control Slugs in Your Garden https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/em9155/html. They are most active in spring and fall, so those times need extra attention. Slugs lay eggs from late September through early October, so September is a good time to get control, before they start on the next generation. . Other pests require management when you see them. Creating a strong, disease resistant group of plants means being aware of problem pests as well as beneficial, predatory pests. Aphids have many predator enemies, like lady bugs, lacewings, hover flies, etc. (Beneficial Insects https://www.uidaho.edu/-/media/UIdaho-Responsive/Files/Extension/county/Kootenai/garden-resources/pollinators-beneficial-insects/who-are-the-beneficial-insects.pdf). Learning about both beneficial insects and pest insects and their larval forms will help you maintain a healthy garden. If you have a question about an insect, get a close-up picture of it and send to Ask an Expert.

The key to managing black spot in roses is keeping the leaves dry. Fungi spread on wet leaves. Using drip or soaker hose irrigation instead of sprinklers puts the water in the ground where the plants need it. Spacing plants for good air circulation allows the leaves to dry out faster, as does pruning to open up the plant to good air circulation. Place roses in morning sun or full sun, again to allow them to dry. Remove and dispose of all leaves with black spot in the garbage. Clean up all leaves and stems in the fall to stop overwintering spores. Finally, choose resistant rose cultivars, (.Rose Cultivar Resistance https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/cultivar-tables/rose-cultivar-resistance). Since there are always new cultivars, ask if the rose is resistant to black spot. Chemical fungicides help prevent black spot on roses. Fungicides will protect leaves from fungal infections, but must be applied at 7-14 day intervals. Unfortunately, they do not cure the disease.

Gardening is a life-long learning experience. Enjoy the journey!

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Thank you very much for the detailed response. I sincerely appreciate your note. Do you have a recommendation on a master gardener that I can get in touch with please? I am based in Bethany/97229 zip code.

Regards,
Raj

Hello Raj,

Thank you for your patience. At Ask an Expert we give objective science based information. We don't go out to individual gardens; There are professionals who do that valuable work. everal Master Gardeners have businesses with garden design, plant maintenance, etc. I checked with our supervisor on how to get the information you requested in the best way possible and he led me to this web site, https://backyardhabitats.org/resources/landscape-professionals/. It has a list of people performing the work you requested, and several of them are Master Gardeners. I think you'll find what you're looking for here.

Thank you very much for your feedback.