Gardening Tips


Pruning season has arrived (in some areas). It’s time to get out your pruning tools and clean and sharpen them if you haven’t already done so.  A sharp tool will make your job so much easier and rewarding. Everything is looking pretty sad this time of year, especially our roses, so a good pruning will clean things up. 

A good time to prune roses is when the buds begin to swell. In colder climates, pruning starts later.  Make sure you use bypass pruning shears. I use pruning shears as well as loppers for the bigger canes.

 Remove all the dead, damaged and diseased materials and throw them in the garbage, not the compost pile. Remove any stems growing in the center of the bush. If two canes are crossing each other, remove one of them. Cut stems off that have grown below the graft. Roses like good air circulation around their foliage. It helps prevents diseases.     


Pruning cuts should be ¼ inch above a bud at the same angle as the bud.  Also be sure to prune to healthy tissue, this is recognizable by the green bark and white pith center of the stem.

Pruning by Type:

Hybrid Teas, Floribundas & Grandifloras: In colder climates, prune the canes down to 12-15 inches. Prune out weak, small or short stems, anything thinner than a pencil. When you are done you should have 3-5 healthy canes left.

Climbing roses: Climbers and old-fashioned ramblers should be pruned after the first or only full bloom.  Most of these types of roses bloom on shoots that are growing off one-year old canes, so prune out only the oldest canes by cutting them down at the root crown.

Miniature Roses: You can lightly trim or tip prune throughout the year. During the dormant season they sould be thinned out because they tend to get dense in the center and this causes a lack of air circulation.

After pruning your roses, they should be spray with a fungicide mixed with a dormant oil to prevent diseases in the spring time. We carry Liquid Cop and Dormant oil from Monterey lawn and garden products. Both are accepted as an organic treatment.  


Additional Winter Chores

It’s cold out there so protect your tender plants when the temperatures fall below 32 degrees. We have a plant protection fabric that looks like white gauze that works well. Spraying your plants with water or even better with seaweed helps to plump up the plant cells and protect them from freezing temperatures. 

Now is the time to start thinking about pruning your non stone fruit trees like apples and pears. The stone fruits like cherries, peaches and plums, recover better with less chance of damage if you wait until late winter or early spring.  Make sure that you clean up all the debris around the trees in order to prevent the spread of disease.  With all of our dry weather unfortunately, we have had plenty of opportunity to spray with dormant sprays.  The last spray should happen right at bud swell, just before the buds break.

Many perennials will decline in flower production when their roots get tangled together, so plant division is really beneficial.  Daylilies, Shasta daisies, Lily of the Nile and other perennials that require division should be pulled up at this time or when they are dormant.  I have had good luck dividing my bulbs at this time if I didn’t have time in the fall. Better late than never!!!

Remove old flowers from Azaleas and Camellias to lower the risk of petal blight. Apply a 3-4 inch layer of mulch around plants to reduce the loss of moisture when the temperature begins to rise and control weeds.  We carry several kinds of landscape mulches to help you with this project.

If you have a compost pile, now is a good time to turn it and mix in all the leaves and clippings that you have raked up from around your yard. Aerating your compost pile is a key step in its successful breakdown. We do sell compost helping microbes if your compost needs a little help.


  spring color image  

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