Saturday, April 19, 2014

TO WAIT OR NOT TO WAIT ?

            A few days ago we experienced a cold snap in Massachusetts!  This is one reason we slowly remove the protective covering on certain plants in the spring.   Timing is critical in gardening and especially with regard to pruning in the late winter/early spring period.  Roses serve as a good example.....years ago I was reading a very concise book entitled Reliable Roses by Christine Utterback where she passes on the opinion of Mike Ruggiero senior curator for nearly forty years at The New York Botanical Garden. He recommends for Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras, and Miniatures to wait until the new leaflets were 1/2 to 1 inch long before pruning in the spring to avoid forcing the roses out of dormancy too early and possibly damaging young growth by late frosts.   This year has been so cold the roses have barely started bud swelling and in warmer spots I see the leaflets just emerging.    Instinctually I am waiting this year to cut the roses and I am happy I did!   Of course we are not always so lucky in our decisions for I pulled my rosemarys out of my house earlier in the week and the other day found them blackened and filled with snow!   If you haven't already done so this is the time to fertilize your lawns with corn gluten, giving the grass a head start encouraging early strong growth to crowd out weeds.  Corn gluten is a naturally derived source of nitrogen.  If you are intending on spot seeding then skip those areas with the corn gluten until you over seed and the grass germinates.  The sun is shining again and I need to stop writing for now and get back out there!

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