Saturday, March 30, 2013

APRIL 2013

Prune Roses. I have attached a copy of our Rose Care Guide, one of the many information sheets that we hand out.  There are also a couple of photos of our roses that we pruned this year. You can see how severely they can be pruned to perform well. Don't forget that we will have a truckload of gorgeous roses arriving around the end of April.

1. CHOOSING A ROSE: There are several classes of roses. Here are a few of the basics to help you choose the ones that best suit your needs.
Hybrid Tea- These are the most popular bush type roses. They typically reach 3-5 feet tall and have medium to large flowers borne singly on a long stem. This is the classic cutting rose.
Floribunda- The flowers of this bush are usually smaller than a Hybrid Tea but in large clusters. These plants are shorter at about 2-4 feet tall. Floribundas make great flowering hedges or borders.
Grandiflora- These lie somewhere between their Hybrid Tea and Floribunda parents. They produce the flower of a Hybrid Tea in clusters like a Floribunda. The height is taller though at around 8 feet which makes them a fine background plant.
Climber- Most are vigorous Floribundas or Hybrid Teas that form long canes. You will need to tie them to some sort of sturdy support since they don’t actually “climb” by themselves. Climbers are useful on a trellis or espaliered on a wall or fence.
Miniature- Smaller versions of the above classes. Use them in containers, inside or out, as borders or ground covers.
Hardy Shrub- They are older varieties of roses before roses were hybridized and are very cold hardy, disease resistant and fragrant. The leaves tend to be more crinkled than a hybrid and some produce large hips. Expect them to get 4-7 feet tall and the most popular are Rugosa Roses. Use them effectively as a hedge or background plant.
2. PLANTING: Follow the Silver Heights Nursery “Planting & Care Guide” and, in addition, mix 1 cup Bone Meal into your prepared soil. After planting, sprinkle 1 cup Epsom Salts (the magnesium improves leaf color and vigor) around the root area and water in thoroughly.
3. FERTILIZING: A regular fertilization schedule can be started 1 month after planting. But do not feed after September 1st nor before May 1st. Use an organic or organic based fertilizer such as Happy Frog Rose Food or Fruit and Flower, Gro-Power Flower n’ Bloom, Chickity Doo Doo or Fish Emulsion. Mulch year round with Back To Earth Compost for moisture retention and to protect roots from both heat and cold extremes.
4. PESTS & DISEASES: The best way to deal with these problems is to prevent them or catch them in the early stages. Keeping your plants healthy is the first step toward prevention. Do not let your roses become stressed due to lack of water or nutrients. Never use high nitrogen fertilizers that will cause rampant green growth which insects and diseases find very inviting. Plant your roses in full or morning sun so the leaves will not stay damp. Never water the foliage, only the root area. Keep the center of bush type roses “opened up” to encourage good air circulation. Remove debris, fallen leaves and buds from underneath your plants. Check your roses frequently for any signs of pests and diseases. Here are a few of the most common problems and solutions:
APHIDS & SPIDER MITES-Spray in the morning with a strong jet of water for three days, then treat with insecticidal soap if still present. Beneficial insects.
THRIPS-Spray with insecticidal soap. Beneficial insects.
BORERS-Prune damaged canes and seal ends with tree seal, nail polish or paraffin.
POWDERY MILDEW & RUST-Use sulphur or neem spray as a preventative and to deter spreading. Prune off and dispose of badly infected plant parts.
5. PRUNING: Major pruning should be done in the spring when the buds begin to swell. All pruning cuts should be made ¼ inch above an outward facing bud, at an angle sloping away from the bud. All removal cuts should be made at the source, leaving no stub. The basic principles of pruning bush type roses are as follows: Remove dead canes to the crown. Prune canes damaged by cold to a point where the wood is showing white all the way through. Remove any weak, crossing or rubbing canes and those that tend to crowd the center. Cut off any suckers coming from below the bud union at their source. Shorten any remaining canes by one third to one half. In general, Hybrid Tea roses should be pruned to maintain 3-6 healthy canes, Grandifloras as many as 8 and Floribundas 6-8. Miniatures are pruned in the same way as the larger bush roses. Climber’s laterals can be shortened to 3-6 inches. Shrub roses should only be pruned to shape when young. When mature, remove twiggy growth, very old canes to the ground and shorten other canes by one third. To keep roses fresh looking throughout the flowering season prune spent flowers just above an outward facing leaf with 5 leaflets. This is where a new flower will come from. To cut flowers to enjoy indoors, prune this way also.

Of these 3 roses the one in the front has been properly pruned.

Pruned Hybrid Tea.

To keep your roses beautiful and healthy use Fox Farm's Happy Frog Rose Food. This all organic fertilizer has an analysis of 4% nitrogen for healthy green growth, 4% phosphorus that encourages rooting and flowering, 5% potash or potassium for overall hardiness and disease resistance and contains  7.98% Calcium which plants need for cell wall development and growth. It is also important for enzyme activity, metabolism and for nitrate uptake. This fertilizer has 1.56% Magnesium which promotes dark green leaves and a long list of beneficial mycorrhizae. The Happy Frog Rose Food bag boasts "a custom blend to deliver optimum nutrition for roses and it will create strong plants and increase the color intensity of your flowers". Use this fertilizer monthly throughout the growing season at a rate 1/4 cup per foot of height, work it lightly into the soil and water thoroughly.

Plant Veggies. As I reminded you last month you can plant cool season vegetables like cabbage and broccoli from transplants now but since our average last frost date in Silver City is May 1st, which means it falls somewhere between April 15th and May 15th, you would not want to plant warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers now without protection. (Stop into the nursery and pick up a copy of "Silver City's Suggested Planting Times".) Protection would be a heated greenhouse, your heated house or sunroom or a Wall O' Water. The made in Dillon, Montana Wall O’ Water is a long-lasting, durable product, designed to protect plants and extend the growing season. Using the physical properties of water, it protects the plant from cold as low as 12° F, from winds as strong as 40 mph, and from animal activity. In addition, the Wall O’ Water reduces water use by sheltering the base of the plant from sun and wind, reducing transpiration. It is a series of 18 tubes filled with water to form a rigid wall of water surrounding the plant. During the day, that water is warmed by the sun and this heat is retained to insulate the plant from cold conditions. This system retains nearly 900,000 calories of heat to protect delicate plant roots and warm the soil surrounding your plant. When filled with water, the product weighs more than 20 pounds giving it plenty of mass to withstand wind and animal activity. You fill the tubes with water and allow it it warm the soil for a week. Then plant your transplants inside. This can give you a 4-8 week jump on the season.
This year we will be offering our vegetables in 3 packs instead of 6 packs. We feel this will allow our customers the opportunity to plant a larger variety of vegetables as well as helping gardeners with smaller spaces save money.

Phlox subulata. Creeping Phlox is an evergreen groundcover that is blooming around town right now. Its needlelike foliage forms a mat 3 feet wide and 6-10'' tall. The very early spring flowers are 3/4''wide and come in 'Emerald Blue', 'Candy Stripe' and 'Red Wings'. This plant is drought tolerant and hardy to zone 3 or 30-40 degrees below zero. Plant in full sun or half a day of shade in a rock garden, as a bank cover, in the front of a perennial bed, cascading over a wall or in a pot. You could even plant tough bulbs like Tulips and Daffodils with this groundcover for a real spring show. To keep it fresh cut back by half after blooming and broom it when it looks sad in February.
Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue' blooming its little heart out on March 19th, 2013.

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