The Q&A Archives: What to do if soil is turning green on the suface

Question: What do I do if my soil is turning green on the surface and it seems to be killing my plants?
What to do if my rose plants have been partially cut down?

Answer: When soil turns green on the surface it is usually due to algae; the algae itself is harmless but it usually indicates some soil problems. Typically you will find excessive compaction (possibly due to overwatering or heavy sprinkling on a clay based soil or being located in a low spot where water collects), somtimes excessively acidic soil, sometimes excess shade, and maybe also poor air circulation. Many plants will not grow well in these types of conditions, either. I would suggest you work with your county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff to evaluate the soil conditions where you are gardening and determine how it might be improved to help your plant become healthier.

Most roses will recover in about a year from being pruned badly or cut back inadvertently. Depending on the type of rose they may not bloom as well the following year -- although some may actually bloom better. If they are grafted roses be sure the graft is intact and that the new growth is from above the graft union. (Growth from the root stock will not be true to name.)

I hope this helps.

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