Archive | October 2015

Pruning Raspberries and Blueberries


“We purchased many bare root raspberries and blueberries in the spring for our new garden…. Many of the raspberries bore fruit this fall.  I’m wondering how they should both be pruned this fall?  Please
advise…
Thanks
Jesse”

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Hi Jesse,

Thank you for the email regarding your raspberries and blueberries.

First question: do you have summer-bearing/everbearing or fall-bearing types of raspberries?

Raspberry PruningIf you have a summer-bearing and everbearing types of raspberry, you do not want to prune it in general.  The berries will be produced on canes from the previous year.  The only ones that you should think about pruning would be those that have grown up beyond the area you have designated for them, or any that are spindly or diseased.

As for fall-bearing types, you definitely want to prune them in late winter/early spring before the buds break dormancy.  Prune all canes that bore fruit last year; they won’t fruit again. These will have grayish,
peeling bark.  To force your everbearing raspberries to produce only one crop in the fall, prune back the entire raspberry bush in early spring. As the canes grow back in the summer, remove outside suckers and thin the canes to about 6 inches apart. Keep the sturdiest canes. This technique will give you a larger fall harvest and is good if you also have summer bearing raspberry bushes and you want to stagger the harvests.

As the summer goes on, you can always prune out any dead, broken or diseased canes or those that are outside your designated row area. Of course, you can prune broken, dead, diseased or infested canes at any time of the year, the sooner the better.

And one other thing:  wear thick gloves as raspberries have some serious thorns on them. And use clean, sharp tools.

As for the blueberries, spring is the best time to prune. Before domancy has broken, remove any diseased or broken wood, plus crossing branches. You want the bush to have a narrow base and a wide, open top that allows sunlight and air in.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Winter Protection for a Tree Rose


“Hello – this is the first year that I bought a Tree Rose.  I placed it near a main walkway in a condominium complex.  When maintenance shovels snow, they will most likely pile it up in the area where my rose tree is.  Can you recommend something that I can place around it in order to protect it?  Would it be alright to put a plastic pipe around it if it has enough room around it?  Please let me know……….thanks for any advice you can give me.

Nancy”

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Hello Nancy,

Thank you for your inquiry on winterizing your rose tree.  I understand that you are in Zone 6 New York, and as roses can be a bit finicky, it is best to give them a little bit of love and care and then bundle them up well.

Winter Tree RoseRemove all old mulch from under and around the roses; it might harbor insect eggs or disease spores from infected fallen leaves. Just before the first hard, or killing, frost of the season, spread fresh mulch of wood chips, shredded bark, or chopped leaves around the base of the plant, extending as far out as the branch tips. Wait until after the ground freezes to spread the mulch if rodents are a problem in the yard. Mice, especially, like to build their nests in mulch. Water the rose well, especially if it’s been through a dry summer.

There are a few items that you will need to help in the winterizing process:

— organic mulch (I recommend leaves from the yard)

— binder twine or heavy duty string

— burlap

— stakes (wood, bamboo, etc.).  You will need at least four, and possible more depending on the circumference of your rose. They should be just a bit taller than the height of the tree rose.

Begin by setting four stakes in the ground around the rose and just beyond the mulched root zone.  Wrap a protective barrier of burlap around the stakes and tie it in place with the twine (at least at the top, middle, and bottom with more in between as needed to accommodate for the height of the plant. Then fill in the middle with an insulating layer of dry leaves (pack them in so they are not loose and full of air pockets that can get cold). The rose is now shielded from harsh winds and should look kind of like an upright gunny sack of potatoes.

I hope this helps you out.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Alliums for Your Flower Garden


Reprinted with permission of the National Gardening Bureau:

 

Alliums for Your Flower Garden

Does your perennial garden bloom non-stop from spring through fall? If your answer is “yes”, take a bow! It’s more difficult to achieve than it sounds. Every type of plant blooms according to its own schedule, and flowering times also vary by variety, growing zone and weather conditions.

For many gardeners, one of the most confounding bloom time gaps is late spring – after the tulips have flowered and before the peonies are open. Sometimes that in between time can last several weeks, and it seems like a long time when you’re eager for flowers.

Fortunately there’s an easy fix: ornamental alliums. Here’s why every perennial garden can benefit from these carefree bulbs:

1. Late Spring Color. Most ornamental alliums flower in May, when it’s no longer spring and yet not quite summer. Planting several different types — tall and short, early and late — will let you stretch the show for up to 6 weeks. See the bloom time chart below for details.

2.  Many Types.  There are more than a dozen garden-worthy alliums that can be called into action: short ones, like Allium karataviense and Allium schubertii, are perfect for rock gardens or lining a walk. Others, such as Allium Purple Sensation and Allium Mount Everest, are the ideal height for a mixed perennial border. Giant alliums, like Allium ‘Christophii’ and Allium ‘Globemaster’, produce dramatic 8” globes as big as gazing balls.

3. Problem Free. Deer, voles, chipmunks and squirrels have no interest in eating alliums. Insects don’t bother them either (except for bees and butterflies, who love the nectar). Alliums are also virtually immune to disease problems.

4. Easy and Reliable. Like most flower bulbs, alliums are born to bloom and need no special care. Just plant them in the fall, any time before the ground freezes. Most species will thrive in zones 4-8 and will return to bloom again year after year.

5. Long-Lasting.  Allium flowers are long lasting both in the garden and in bouquets. After the blossoms lose their color, the seed heads continue looking good for a month or more. They can even be painted gold or silver for holiday bouquets and craft projects.

6. Happy Personalities. There’s something lighthearted about alliums. Whether they remind you of lollipops, balloons or bubbles, you’ll enjoy their good cheer as well as their good looks.

Alliums are gaining in popularity, but it’s still a mystery why they’re not more widely grown. The answer may be timing. Most perennials are planted in spring, but allium bulbs are planted in the fall, at the same time as tulips and daffodils. Remembering to plant alliums is the only thing difficult about them!

Consider adding a few alliums to your garden this fall. That late spring lull may become your garden’s finest hour! Want to learn more about growing alliums? Read Alliums: How to Plant and Grow.