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The varieties, the depth, the amount….the thought of mulching can provoke dread or motivation. Gardens LOVE mulch as it provides many benefits, but to some gardeners it may appear as a monumental task. Think of it as dressing up your garden beds, offering moisture retention and weed prevention. Doing this mulch work now, will certainly prevent more weeding work later.
Minnesota gardeners who cultivate roses in their landscapes are most likely keenly aware of pruning
methods. It's important to note there are three types of Roses that are commonly grown here in
Minnesota, the hybrid Tea Rose, the shrub Rose (aka Floribunda roses), and the climbing Rose, all of
which require slightly different pruning actions.
Climbing roses are fairly simple to prune. In very early spring climbing roses benefit from removal of
dead or damaged canes. If there are older and less productive canes, those can be cut all the way down
to the base. For summer pruning of climbers, deadhead the spent blossoms. If the climbing rose is a
repeat bloomer, then after the first bloom of flowers, cut all the side branches back to leave just 2 or 3
buds. This will increase blooming for the rest of the season! Always, cut at a 45 degree angle to
promote water running off the wound and avoid an opportunity for any fungi to set up house. Typically
summer pruning on climbers is no longer performed after about mid-August.
Hybrid Tea roses require a bit more care, but are very much worth it. In early spring, after you’ve
awakened them from their winter slumber, uncovered their blanket of straw, cut back by ½ the canes
you desire to keep. Winter always kills a few rose canes, so be certain to remove those as well, all the
way down to the base.
Now, for summer pruning of Hybrid Teas, it’s imperative to deadhead the spent blossoms to promote
further blooming. Keep in mind to always cut at an angle AWAY from the center of the plant just a ¼”
above a bud that faces AWAY from the center of the plant. In other words, cut above a bud that’s facing
outward and be certain to count down the stem to the next highest node with at least 5 leaflets. This is
where the strongest bud will come in next. Cutting at an angle away from the center of the plant allows
for water to runoff the wound. Also, buds facing outward will grow outward, hence, not clogging up
the middle of the plant and preventing air and light from entering. Roses are susceptible to a plethora of
fungi, so keeping the interior of the rose bush airy and light will do wonders to prohibit disease.
Summer pruning should cease about mid-August.
Shrub roses are quite durable and typically repeat bloomers. The first round of pruning happens in
April with the plant being cut back to 1/3 rd of their normal height. Always remember to cut at a 45
degree angle outward from the center of the plant. If the rose bush appears rather pekid in spring, it's
perfectly acceptable to cut it back to the ground as almost all shrub roses are grown on their own roots
and will flourish from a total cut back every now and then.
For summer pruning the same technique applies to shrub roses as the tea and climbing roses. Cut at an
angle away from the center of the plant, about 1/4” above the next bud facing outward. This point on
the plant is where the next set of strong buds most likely will be. Once again, summer
deadheading/pruning should wind down about mid-August. By doing this, the gardener allows the plant
to create rose hips which are beautiful specimens used in fall and winter décor!
Following the above methods will improve air flow, promote blooming and speed recovery from any
sustained winter damage. Happy pruning!
Winter is coming… but that doesn’t mean you need to stop gardening! Many outdoor container plants are also suitable as houseplants, such as hibiscus, foliage begonias, geraniums, caladiums and coleus. As long as you take a few simple precautions, overwintering garden...