Rose Care Year Round

Rose Care

Summer Pruning:
Roses that bloom on the previous season’s growth need different pruning than repeat bloomers. Remove old, unproductive canes and spindly new canes after flowering. Do not deadhead (remove faded flowers); it prevents the formation of the attractive fruits known as hips.

For repeat blooming roses, deadhead all spent flowers throughout the seaon. Make your cut back to a leaf with 5 leaflets.  On plants with flowers that bloom in clusters, cut the entire cluster where the stem joins the cane.

Climbing and rambling roses. Deadhead repeat-flowering climbers. There’s no need to deadhead ramblers. Continue training ramblers and climbers onto their supports.

Watering: Water established roses deeply at soil level (don’t allow the leaves to get wet) once a week when it hasn’t rained; twice a week for roses planted in spring.

Weeding: Remove weeds as necessary, and mulch around the base of your roses to discourage weeds from sprouting.

Feeding: Compost or manure spread each spring is enough for roses that bloom once a year.  For repeat-flowering roses, give these a boost with a fertilizer that promotes blooms. Just don’t overdo it. Excessive fertilizer can lead to soft, weak growth that attracts insects.

Pests and diseases: If you start with varieties suited to your conditions and plant them in full sun, with fertile soil, steady air circulation, and plenty of water, you’ve taken the most important steps in preventing problems.  There are so many insects and diseases that can affect roses that we will leave it in your court to contact us if you notice any problems and we will be glad to help.

Health Benefits of Gardening

Stress Relief

A recent study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities.

After completing a stressful task, two groups of people were instructed to either read indoors or garden for 30 minutes. Afterward, the group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the reading group, and they also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

“We live in a society where we’re just maxing ourselves out all the time in terms of paying attention,” says Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D., a horticulture instructor and researcher in the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Humans have an infinite capacity for the kind of directed attention required by cell phones and email and the like, Taylor says, and when that capacity gets used up we tend to become irritable, error-prone, distractible and stressed out.

Fortunately this “attention fatigue” appears to be reversible. Following a theory first suggested by the University of Michigan researchers in the 1980s, Taylor and other experts have argued that we can replenish ourselves by engaging in “involuntary attention,” an effortless form of attention that we use to enjoy nature.

Trading your BlackBerry for blackberry bushes is an excellent way to fight stress and attention fatigue, Taylor says, as the rhythms of the natural environment and the repetitive, soothing nature of many gardening tasks are all sources of effortless attention.

“The breeze blows, things get dew on them, things flower; the sounds, the smells,” says Taylor, herself a home gardener. “All of these draw on that form of attention.”

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

Pruning mistakes

Everyone can relate to that feeling of panic after making a cut and realizing that you’ve just ruined the shape of your shrub. Or perhaps you’ve ignored a plant’s obvious structural problem because you were afraid or unsure of what pruning action to take. Improper pruning can lead not only to ugly plants but also to liability in the landscape. There is some recourse, thankfully, for these errors in pruning judgment. 

There is nothing less noticeable than an excellent pruning job. But on the flip side, there is nothing more noticeable than a poorly pruned plant. Pruning is a science and an art. The science involves recognizing plant flaws and skillfully eliminating or minimizing these defects. The artistic end involves removing these bad parts or pieces with a disguised grace so that the plant appears unmarred and untouched. As gardeners, though, we sometimes forget about one of these aspects when pruning, and that’s when we make mistakes. Throughout the week we will feature the top five pruning mistakes most often seen and advice on how to fix them to save your plants and your sanity.


You keep snipping the tips of your plants to keep them in check.

Solution #1

Prune the brooming ends down to one leader


Your conifers are out of control in summer, so you cut back the longest branches.

Solution #2

Prune back to a side shoot further back in the bush


You shear your weeping cherry tree so that it looks like it has a Beatle haircut.

Solution #3

Eliminate all branches that are growing across another branch, that are damaged and then thin out inner branches to leave an outer weeping skeleton.


The tree in the front yard is too tall, so you chop off the top to make it stop growing up.

Solution #4

Prune the brooming ends down to one leader


You keep snipping the tips of your plants to keep them in check.

Solution #5

Thin out branches at ground level to allow air flow through the bush. Trim out all crossing branches, diseased wood, then the oldest branches until you have a rejuvenated shrub. Take out no more than 1/3 of the plant the first year.

Spring Birding Tips

Spring Bird Feeding Tips

While flowers are starting to bloom and fruits are starting to grow in spring, it may still not be enough for early migrants.  After a long winter, many prime food sources will be depleted, and backyard feeders provide easy foods for birds to take advantage of at a time when they need to replenish after a tiring migration.  Spring is a busy season for birds as they claim territory, seek out mates, build nests and begin to raise their young, and offering foods for spring birds can not only invite them to your backyard, but can also help them survive late season storms and other hazards.  Provide a variety of different foods to attract a wide range of species to your feeders. 

The most popular foods to offer spring birds include: Birdseed, Mealworms, Fruit, Nectar, Suet and Calcium.  Other ideas to attract spring birds include to spring clean your bird feeders, avoid insecticides as much as possible so birds can enjoy insects in their diet, add extra feeders around the yard, plant early-blooming flowers to attract hummingbirds with a good nectar source, provide fresh water, offer nesting materials, and use colors and sounds that will attract birds even before natural foods are abundant.  The greater variety of foods you offer for spring birds, the greater variety of species that will stop to sample the buffet.  Plant shrubs and trees that produce berries as well as habitat for birds and as the birds discover a rich and reliable food source, they are more likely to remain nearby throughout the spring and summer, providing months of enjoyable backyard birding.

How To Choose a Pruning Tool

Choosing the Right Pruning Tool

For pruning, the must-have tools are a pair of hand pruners, loppers, pole pruners and a saw. If you own and want to properly maintain even a single woody plant, you will eventually need all of these tools. Simple as that.    

Hand pruners are meant to be used on plant material 1/2” or less in diameter.  There are two types of hand pruners, bypass and anvil.  On a bypass pruner the blades pass each other to make the cut.  This type of pruner is good for thinning and for work on green wood.  This type is the most popular.  Anvil pruners work by pinching the branch being cut, like cutting a carrot on a cutting board.  Anvil pruners work best on tough, dead wood.

If the material you are cutting is more than 1/2” in diameter then you need to choose a pruning saw, pole pruner or a lopper.  Pruning saws can be used to cut just about anything within reach.  Pole pruners are used for those out of reach branches.  Pruning saws can be used to cut dense or thicker than 1 1/2” wood.  Pruning saws cut on the back cut or the pull which gives you better leverage.  Loppers can be used to make cuts out of arms reach or into the center of a shrub.  Use this guide to determine which tool is right for your job.

  • Removing buds or very new shoots: hand or knife
  • Ground level, thickness up to ½”: hand pruners
  • Ground level, thickness up to 1 ½”: loppers
  • Ground level, up to about 4”: pruning saw
  • Overhead up to about 14’, thickness up to ½”: pole pruner
  • Overhead up to about 14’, thickness under 2”: Pole saw
  • Overhead thickness over 2”: best to leave to a professional arborist