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January 2019 Gardening Tips - Clematis 'Multi-Blue'
‘Double Delight’ Rose



    The question I hear most often this time of year is, “How do I prune my roses?” Here in the Santa Rosa, California area this is the time to dormant prune most roses. One important task you can do to keep your roses healthy is to keep the area below and around the roses clean of leaves. Diseases such as rust, powdery mildew and black spot are fungal diseases that spread easily, especially in wet weather. To remind you of why you would want to keep the area cleaned up, it may be helpful to think of this leaf debris as similar to athlete’s foot fungus. Before you prune (if your rose isn't too huge), gently strip off all the leaves and thoroughly rake the area. Striping the leaves first will help you to clearly see which stems you are pruning. Once you are confident about pruning your rose, you'll be able to prune out quite a bit of the height before you strip the leaves.

    Different types of roses prefer different pruning but here are some general things to keep in mind. Angle your pruning cuts away from the bud so that any water will run away from the bud. Prune, leaving a quarter inch of stem above an outward facing bud (or to a bud that is going to grow in the direction you would like). Cut out any spindly growth (growth that is less than the diameter of a pencil). Prune out any growth that will be growing into the middle of the rose so that the rose bush will have good air circulation. Good air circulation will cut down on the possibility of diseases. Also, prune out any dead, diseased, or damaged growth. Where stems cross, decide which stem to keep and prune off the other one or prune down enough to redirect the new growth. Most important: once the new growth starts in spring, finger prune (use your finger tips to gently remove) out unwanted growth. Where you have 2 or 3 buds starting to grow from the same spot, remove so you leave only one healthy shoot.

    After you prune and clean up the area, apply a 3" layer of good quality mulch (Mary uses compost as mulch-bark encourages insects to hide and overwinter in the nooks and crannies) on top of the soil to help reduce weeds and feed your roses. Avoid pushing 3" layer of mulch onto the base of plant. Keep the mulch to a thin layer from base of plant out to about 6 inches. Taper out from the base instead of creating a volcano effect with the mulch.


    Learn how to prune your roses with Mary as your tutor or you can hire her to prune roses for you. Contact Mary.

    January 2019
    Gardening Checklist*
    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Bareroot - Roses, Fruit Trees, Rhubarb, Cane Berries, Blueberries, Lilacs, Wisteria.
    Checkbox Seeds - Wildflower seeds in bulk, Columbine (spread seeds or buy plants), Poppies (Breadseed and Orientale), Nigella.
    Checkbox Annuals - Bellis perennis, Primula (primrose-perennial used as annual).
    Checkbox Hardy Shrubs - Photinia, Viburnum, Lilac (if you desire a certain color-wait to buy when in bloom), Dwarf Callistemon, Daphne, Rosemary, Camellia, Lavender.
    Checkbox Bulbs - Anemone, Freesia.
    Tasks to do . . .
    Checkbox General Pruning - Do you have citrus trees? Save any pruning for after our frost season is passed (in Sonoma County Ca-frost season is generally from the end of October all the way until mid April or beginning of May). Leaving some extra foliage on citrus now will help protect plants from frost damage. If plants get frost burn, leave the burnt leaves on and clean up in April. Continue pruning dormant fruit trees such as Apple and Pears. Other than to clear out crossing, dead, damaged or diseased areas, Persimmons and Figs generally do not need much pruning. Save pruning of the fungal disease susceptible stone fruits (peach, nectarine, cherry etc.) until late spring during window of dry weather. Avoid pruning Lilac, Forsythia, Rhododendron, Azalea, and other plants that bloom in early spring. Pruning spring flowering plants now means little or no flowers until spring 2020! Do not cut back damaged plant parts from frost damaged plants. It is best to leave the more frost tender plants such as Lantana, Citrus, and Salvias alone until just before new growth starts in springtime.
    Checkbox Rose Pruning - is a top priority this month! Make an appointment today for rose pruning tutoring or have Mary prune roses for you. You can find several rose pruning videos on The Gardening Tutor YouTube Channel. Watch our Playlist.
    Checkbox Pest Management - In order to kill overwintering pests and fungal spores it’s time to dormant oil spray roses and dormant fruit trees. There are many products from which to choose; Mary uses Neem oil on her roses. If your rose has not dropped all its leaves, remove all the leaves before you prune and spray (for huge roses this is not practical). Spray the soil under and around your plant too in order to smother overwintering insects and fungal spores. Continue to protect little sweet pea plants from pests like slugs, snails, earwigs, cutworms, and sowbugs. You can still plant sweet pea seeds or plants if you missed planting in November.
    Checkbox Plant Protection from Frost - Continue to use an antitranspirant such as Cloud Cover every 6 weeks or so on citrus and other shiny leaved plants that are vulnerable to frost damage. Be sure to spray underside of leaves too. This may not protect completely but may help.
    Checkbox Mulching - If you are not using your raised vegetable beds this winter, cover the soil with a nice thick layer of compost mulch.
    Checkbox Bareroot Plants - When planting bare-root plants: soak the roots in a bucket of water for a few hours before planting to hydrate them unless they are already wet from rains.
    Checkbox Weeds - You can still plant wildflower seeds. Make sure to first clear all weeds from the planting area. Staying ahead of weeding in winter makes gardening in spring less of a chore. Let soil drain well between rain showers so as not to weed and walk in mud.
      Local Nurseries - Support your locally owned nurseries so we can keep diversity in what is offered! Grab a hot beverage and head on out to your locally owned nursery to see what's in bloom this time of year. You’ll be surprised!
    Free printable . . .
      Looking for a way to stay organized in your garden?
    Download this Free Printable Gardening Checklist* and you’ll be amazed how inspired you’ll feel!
    Let us know how you’re doing. You can do it!
    Remember, this printable was created as a short list of tasks with minimal information. If you would like more in-depth information,
    you can always refer back to the checklist above each month for more details.

    The Gardening Tutor January 2019 Printable

    *Colors may vary depending upon your computer screen and printer.

*For More Detailed Gardening Tips
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