Archive for the ‘Perennial Plants’ Category
Pruning roses is the best way to a healthy plant, and few bushes will impress your friends and neighbors like a rose bush in radiant full bloom. The steps to maintaining a rosebush are easy but of the utmost importance to have a healthy well bloomed bush all summer long. By following a few basic pruning steps throughout the year, you too can have the best roses on the block, and a vase in the house to spare.
The start of your pruning season depends on the region of the country you live in. For the majority of the country this may very well be January or February, but even in Portland, Oregon, The Rose City, that usually occurs in March or April. Consult the USDA Pant Hardiness Zone Map to determine when this is for you. You will also use this chart to determine when to apply winter protection to your bush. All gardeners, no matter how small, should be familiar with what plant zone they live in, especially for successful rose gardening.
When the last threat of frost has past and the buds are beginning to swell, its time to begin pruning your roses. Start by removing and dead branches. They can be identified by the dark, shriveled appearance and should be trimmed off at the closest branching while safely removing all possible disease in the branch. Next choose several of your large branches, called canes, with 2-4 feet spacing between them. Select healthy canes that will result in a vase or urn shape when the remaining branches are pruned away. These shapes are popular as they encourage airflow through the rosebush which will promote healthy growth and discourage moss or mold from taking hold. To aid in this, prune away any small canes thinner than a pencil near the center of the bush to continue supporting your urn or vase shape. If you still have winter protection on your roses remove it now.
Next, remove any “suckers” or upshots of new plants. These will be popping their heads up out of the ground around the rosebush. These are new plants attempting to grow off of the parent plant. They will leach vital nutrients from the parent plant and result in fewer and smaller blooms throughout the next couple years while the new plants mature. Remove these by digging into the soil and removing them from the root to prevent them from growing back. If removed carefully, however, you can replant these suckers in other places around your yard.
While its tempting to leave those lovely blooms on the bush for all to enjoy, pruning roses off of the bush will encourage new flowers to bloom. Keep fresh cute roses in water with just a drop of plain, unscented bleach and they will last for a week longer than water or sugar water. Of course giving a gift of roses pruned from your own bushes are a labor of love that show real appreciation.
Do you have Hosta plant that you want to divide and spread around your yard? Dividing a Hosta takes some muscle but is relatively easy to do correctly with minimal damage to the root of the plant.
The first step it to determine when to divide your Hosta. For a spring division, either catch it very early in the springtime before any green shoots start to emerge or a few weeks after growth starts and the new leavers have had a chance to “harden off.” This refers to the leaves’ ability to withstand temperatures or any trauma that would kill off tender, young shoots. It’s suggested, though, to divide Hostas in the fall, around August, as this is the time for most active root growth in a Hosta. If you divide the Hosta too late in the spring or into the summer time, you can expect your plants to look wilted and “shocked” for a good portion of the season. They are very hearty plants, however, and probably will not actually die from being divided as long as you take care to minimize the damage.
Once you have decided its time to uproot your Hosta, get a spade and gardening fork. Start with the spade digging around the outside of the clump about 4-6 inches away from the edge of the plant so that you won’t damage the roots. Work your lump up out of the ground trying to minimize the overall damage to the Hosta using the fork and the spade. However, depending on the time of year, your soil, and the age of your Hosta this can prove to be a lot of work. The next step in dividing Hostas is to soak the lump for a bit to help remove the soil and loosen up the roots. Do not use anything warmer than room temperature water as this would result in shocking the plant.
Depending on the size of your Hosta you can probably get about 5-10 new Hosta clumps from your 3-8 year old Hosta. Each small growth on top is referred to as an “eye.” It’s a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule, to divide the clumps down to pieces with 3-5 eyes on it. Star by pulling at the Hosta clump naturally to break it on natural weaknesses in the plant. Once you have broken off what you can by your hand, use a large, sharp knife to cut up the large remaining pieces. Cut from the bottom and continue to use your hands to pull them apart. It’s important that you do not actually cut any of the eyes with the knife, only cut at the root ball underneath.
Finally, plant the Hostas so that they eyes barely peak out of the top of the soil, with the roots 1-2 inches deep. Then, water, water, water. This helps to settle the soil naturally around the plant while encouraging root growth. With a little practice and work you to can successfully divide a Hosta and spread your beautiful perennials around your yard.
This should be done every 3-5 years to prevent the crown in the center from dying off due to overcrowding. If you are out of places to plant your divided Hosta plants, you could give them away to your friends. Free plants are always appreciated.