A: Your plants will tell you. Your goal is for the plants to grow enough feeder roots to extract water from the soil efficiently. The more efficient the roots are, the longer you can wait between waterings. It’s hard to tell anything by digging beside the plant, but there are other ways to tell if a plant is making new roots. The best is the “shake test.” I know the roses have grown a bit, but as best you can, try to gently rock each one side to side. Watch the soil around the plant. If it cracks and moves with the original root ball, the plant is not well-rooted. It should feel solid and resist your rocking. Grab your tree trunk at chest height and gently rock it. It too should feel solid, with no cracks or soil movement. You have probably already noticed some leaf wilting during the day. This means your plant hasn’t yet grown enough roots to keep up with leaf needs. Continue watering, keeping the soil moist but not soggy, and you’ll probably find that you can skip a day or two between waterings with no harm.
Q: Can you deadhead bee balm for another flowering? Carol Parris, email
A: Indeed you can! Removing faded flower clusters will encourage new flowers and will help prevent disease by increasing air circulation. Make your cuts approximately 1/4 inch above a leaf or bud growing below the faded flowers.
Email Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for his latest tips.