I apologize for not putting up this gardening post yesterday as planned. My car died as I was dropping kids off at school, and I spent the morning at the car place getting my car looked at. I will be doing gardening posts on Tuesdays in the future as part of An Oregon Cottage’s Tuesday Gardening Party.
Last week, I pulled the gardening tool bin out of the garage and set it up on the porch where it lives 3/4s of the year. Gloves come and go; these Felcos have been part of my life for almost 20 years.
With spring in just a few weeks, I need to prune rose bushes, grape vines, raspberry vines, and the fruit trees. The process takes about 10 hours which I spread out over 2 weeks or more with 30 to 45 minute sessions. All of the rose prunings go in the trash to prevent disease from getting into our compost pile.
I prune most of our roses back hard, removing anything pencil-width or smaller. My goal is to open space in the middle of the plant and prevent the canes from crossing each other. When pruning the tea roses, I only prune the dead flowers and dead branches. I’ll admit this may not be correct, however, I haven’t done well with the tea roses and we may end up replacing them.
This climbing rose has beautiful peach colored roses that usually appear in June and last much of the summer. This year, we’re going to prune this particular rose back hard to the bottom of the porch railing. We’re also going to remove one or two older canes which have a lot of excess growth at the top of the cane and very little along the length of the cane. We’ll miss the privacy the climbing rose provides until it puts on new growth this summer.
These black thorn less raspberry plants are easy to prune. I trim back the vines to four feet and remove all the dead canes. These canes can go in the compost pile, however, they should be chipped or manually chopped up to make sure they break down quickly.
There is an art and science to pruning apple trees which I haven’t accomplished yet. I also haven’t been able to ensure a good yield despite having these trees for at least 10 years. For now, I’ll use the same strategy I use for the roses – prune upright growth, remove smaller branches, and remove branches crossing each other or potentially crossing each other. I’ll have my teenager help me with shortening the height of the tree. Since apple trees are prone to disease, making sure that the tree is open as possible with a fewer number of branches may help the tree stay healthy and yield more fruit. I can always hope!
I included one of our grape vines in this post as a reminder to ensure that grapevines have adequate support. This arbor toppled over twice last year; once after the hurricane in August and the other in September or October when we had high winds. We also need to prune the vines back heavily.
If you plan on including plants that need pruning in your landscape, I highly recommend going first with plants that are simple to prune and may only need 15 minutes of pruning during the year. Thorn less blackberries are perfect since they aren’t invasive and only need pruning in late winter and after the harvest in August. Shrub roses can be a lot of work to prune in later winter/early spring as they mature. However, they only need pruning once a year, and they are disease resistant.
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