Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time for Pruning

As the weather begins to warm up and we get in the mood to work outside, there are a number of spring pruning projects to keep your green thumb busy. If you haven't already, start by cutting back your ornamental grasses. These are already starting to turn green and should be cut back to 6-8" as soon as possible.

Shrub roses (Flower Carpet, Knock Out, etc.) may be pruned in early spring. Cut back any dead or diseased canes and then prune for shape and size, preferring to leave young healthy canes and pruning away older canes.

Roses such as hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras should have winter rose collars removed. Prune back any suckers (canes coming from below the graft union), then remove any damaged, dead or diseased wood. Select three or four healthy canes of younger wood, keeping in mind the shape of the bush after pruning. Remove other weaker and older canes. Next, prune back the canes being saved to a length of 8" to 12" making the cut above an outside bud.

Climbing roses should be pruned only AFTER blooming in the spring, otherwise you're cutting off this year's flowers. Climbing roses don't need to be cut back as much as other roses, but should have dead, damaged or diseased canes and suckers removed.

Feed all roses with Bayer All-In-One Rose & Flower Care to prevent pests while fertilizing.
Also avoid pruning spring-blooming plants such as lilac, white spirea, forsythia, quince, etc. until after they are finished blooming or you will cut off this year's flower buds. Feed flowering shrubs with granular ferti-lome Gardener's Special.

It is also time to cut back and feed perennial plants. These die to the ground every year so the old foliage needs to be taken off close to the soil line. Then fertilize the newly emerging shoots with ferti-lome Geranium, Hanging Basket & Pansy Food.

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