Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Pruning Time!

After a couple of 70+ degree false alarms earlier in the year, the garden is finally telling me that spring has arrived. We had light steady rain this weekend, and the fields are now a lovely shade of green. The forsythia and cherry trees are blooming, the daffodils are beginning to fade, the roses are breaking dormancy … and it’s time to prune.

Today, I pruned the antique hybrid tea roses in the front yard. All of these were planted last June as one-gallon, own-root plants. We all know the pruning mantra … prune the plant to an outward-facing bud, eliminate overlapping branches, yadda yadda yadda. This winter was particularly brutal, which made pruning most of these roses a cinch. If it’s green, leave it -- if it’s black or shriveled, cut it off. Using this method, I pruned all 80 roses in just under 2 hours.

Some made it through winter very nicely. Red Radiance, Chief Seattle, and Golden Ophelia received a more traditional pruning -- removing about half of their bulk and eliminating conflicting growth. Snowbird, Lyon Rose, and Reichspresident Von Hindenburg have very little left. There is new growth coming from the base of these plants, however, which is a good thing. Since they are own-root roses, the growth I see is the named variety instead of a rootstock, and I think the plants will be okay.
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