dyvonnetxgal
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When to prune in Southern climates??

Hello everyone, I am at a dilemma we have not really had too much of a winter this season.....more like a really early spring. Going by the Houston Gardening Association the annual time to prune roses for spring is Feb, 14th every year. I am getting a little antsy and was considering pruning earlier. The past two weeks have been in the 70's the coldest we have seen has been around 37* at night and that is like one night out of the two week span. So, should I just wait for Feb or can get a head start and prune away now??? :?

grandpasrose
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Dyvonne, I wouldn't get too hasty. As we all know, the weather has a mind of it's own! Although it seems good now, and you prune your roses, what if it gets bad all of a sudden?
I would stick with the tried and true. The guideline I have always used, and my grandfather before me, is when the trees that are natural to your area (not the specialized landscaping trees) start to show budding up for their leaves, it is time to get the roses ready! This has never done me wrong! 8)
I'd say sit and wait a bit. Your call. :wink:

Val
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dyvonnetxgal
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Thanks, I will wait until the set time for my area but it is definitely hard to tell about the native trees in the area. The winter has be very very mild and some have not lost their leaves completely and then others are just starting to shed them. Well, I am just going to go by the Houston Gardening Association for now and wait. Thanks :wink:

grandpasrose
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Sounds like a good plan to me.. Better safe than sorry!! The other thing you can watch for, and I do this too, is if your community has any public gardens with roses in them, watch for when they do theirs. They have professionals on staff who make those decisions, so I often take that into consideration, although I still keep in mind the natural tree rule.
It will be time soon enough - patience!! :lol:

Val
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I like to prune twice myself; once to keep long canes from getting thrashed around by winter winds, and then again close to that popping date (buds, y'all); Feb. sounds about right for Texas...

HG

dyvonnetxgal
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Well, very glad that I decided to wait....all of a sudden we got a cold front in again and it got to freezing last night.....ahhahah.....now talk about coincidence. At first the weather forecast supposedly was to reach 40* nothing lower. This morning when starting towards my truck there was ice on the grass and when I opened my door to my truck some ice fell off. Oh, Houston has a Rose Garden for the city and that is where the Houston Rose Society meets every month. :D
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grandpasrose
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Didn't your mother ever teach you not to listen to weather forecasts? :lol: :lol:
Glad all is well - you're not usually wrong with the tried and true! :wink:

Val
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arkansasrose
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I get antsy, too, when we get weather like we've been having. However, I'm further north than you and we've had some hard freezes followed by 80 degrees. I'm to the point this year that the roses are so confused, they won't know they've been pruned too early..so, I went ahead last weekend and pruned several of the large climbers that are truly hardy. I won't touch the more tender roses until the forsythia blooms here. In Texas (DFW area), we always watched for the mesquite trees to leaf out. I'll be working on some of the hardy shrubs and trees (non-rose types) pretty soon...that should keep me busy and out of trouble for a while.

grandpasrose
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Arkansas Rose, if you were referring to me about being further north than I am, I hate to disappoint you, but I live in Northern Canada, and have far colder climate than you all do down there! :lol:
However, the same still holds true where ever you live - prune when the trees that are natural and wild in your area are budding to leaf out.
I envy you that you are already out pruning and tidying things up. We still have about two months of winter left. Today it is about 21 degrees farenheit, which is actually warm for us.
Enjoy the parts of your garden you can, and patience with the rest! :wink:

Val
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Sorry, Grandpasrose, but I was answering the question for dyvonnetxgal..much closer to my climate than you are, I know. Our winters are fairly short and we've been much warmer than usual down here with a drought that hasn't been seen in 50 years. Fire on the mountain by us last weekend was terrifying!

grandpasrose
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Did the fires get very close to you? When I saw the news reports, I kept wondering which of all the garden forum would be near there. We had something similar here in BC two years ago, so I know how it feels. Are they still burning? :cry:

Val
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Sorry to hear AR; we are getting rain we would gladly send your way. After a droughty summer we are back to even and then some.. We had floods here not too long ago...

That raises an interesting question; is the waether quirkier than it used to be, and more importantly, how does that affect roses? Or gardening in general?

Scott

arkansasrose
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We're going into our 11th year here in Arkansas with the rose garden and I've never seen the lack of rain like this. As to how it affects the roses, we've been watering every other week to keep them alive..as well as the other plants we have. We did get 1/2" this week, long overdue and not a lot of help, but I'll take what I can get at this point. I do see the reports from the east and west coasts with copious amounts of rain and I try to look at the good side..no fungal diseases have a chance with this low humidity!

The fire on the mountain is finally out. When it came down the east face, it moved in our direction to within a couple of miles. We could see the flames from our property and the scary part is all the trees that were downed in the ice storm in 2000 that were fueling the fire. The news reported that the dirt being used to stop the fires actually burned, too, with the lack of moisture. I don't know if the weather is changing or it's just part of the cyclical nature of weather.

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Arkansas, when even Bush sez there's scientific fact that global warming exists, you can bet on it. Oil companies have been the ones sponsoring all the "research" that shows all the cycles (called milankovitch cycles [url]https://deschutes.gso.uri.edu/~rutherfo/milankovitch.html[/url])) are what is causing our heating trend. Kind of complicated, but a seat of the pants look at these charts and a few things I 've read make me think we should be in a phase of cooling, and this ain't it.

Plants lock up carbon, the #1 greenhouse gas. Plus they cut down on albedo, another proven cause of global warming. We gardeners are the best frontline agaiinst global warming, and we should be aware of how it will affect us our plants and the planet we both live on. When you say organic to a chemist, he thinks carbon; carbon based structure is one definition of the word. We gardeners should be on that page as well.

Gardening offers the best place for us to interact with many other species. We can make gardening a wonderful sprirtual practice, communing with our neighbors in the biosphere by meeting on equal level, common ground, if you will. If I assign as much right for beings besides myself, be they plant or animal, then dumping increasing amounts of carbon into the atmosphere while eliminating forests at alarmiing rates needs to be viewed, fairly and scientifically, with the long-term best interests of all species in mind. Coral reefs are dying due to increased sea temps. Frogs are being eliminated by fungii that are increasing in number and frequency due to global warming. If this is not man-made, we had still better assess our relief options anyway, but carbon gas in the atmosphere is at an all time high by a huge factor. Cutting down greenhouse gas emmissions is a proven way to help at least slow this...

Forest fires are another source of those gases, but they also release trace elements and restart new lifecycles. Soon the grasses will come back, then the flowers. No black and white answers anywhere, but we should at least keep discussing it... :)

Scott

dyvonnetxgal
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Hello arkansasrose, the weather has been very quirky down here as well. We are expecting a good pour of rain tomorrow and the day after. I can't wait. I just planted my English roses from DA and I am about as excited as a kid in a candy store. :lol: One question, HG, Val, or Opa, I am a regular at Lowe's, Home Depot and other local Garden Centers. Lowes recieved there shipment of J&P roses about 3 weeks ago the are in the ready to plant boxes made of cardboard. I know it is biodegradable but, wouldn't that take your rose quite a while before it can get established for the year if it had to push through cardboard even if it will decompose some? Also they have really leafed out in the past 3 weeks. :shock: To me it doesn't look as if they are watering them since they are in those boxes with such "pretty" labels. :shock: Do you think they are worried about ruining the goofy label instead of the well being of the plant? Just some curious questions that were pestering me. :?

dyvonnetxgal
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Oh, one other thing, We had a 30* morning this week the next morning was 60* That is what I mean by quirky and it is back and forth like that throughout the majority of the winter. Today it was 50* waking up and should warm up a little and then that silly Texas weather goes back and forth all over again until we hit maybe the end of March. Then summer-like conditions hit!
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grandpasrose
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Dyvonne, you are right, if you were to plant the roses directly into the ground in the boxes, it would certainly slow their growth as the roots would not be able to stretch out until the box deteriorated. Typically what is done is the box is either sliced open in several places, and the bottom cut off before planting, or the rose is taken out of the box all together.

The reason they are all leafing out is because when they arrived, they had been sitting in some cold storage somewhere, waiting to be shipped, and now they have been abruptly left sitting in a nice warm place, and are not climatized to your area at all. If you were to take one of those roses home, and plant it right now, it would be badly shocked.

And yes, you are probably right, those roses have probably not been watered since they arrived in that store. Nursery plants, once delivered to the big box stores, are horribly neglected. The staff at these stores are not trained to care for them properly the way the staff at the garden centres are.

These are the reasons why you will hear several of us bemoan the box stores, and encourage the use of garden centres and nurseries, is because the plants will not have been neglected and abused, and will be taken care of according to their needs. Also, you will find that local garden centres and nurseries will have plants that are hardy for your particular area, as the staff has studied this for you, and only carry what they know will grow. The big box stores however, get mass shippings of all the same plants,all at the same time, from the same place, regardless of climate. That is why people end up buying plants and having them die, not because they are poor gardeners, but because the plant wasn't meant for that area in the first place.

Now that I have had my little rant - poor dyvonne and arkansasrose - you're getting our pet peeves from all sides, first Scott, now me!!! :roll:
Sorry about that.

On a lighter note - we are actually having our first beautiful sunshiny day we have had in quite a while so we're enjoying it! :wink:

Val
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arkansasrose
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Val, I took no exception to Scott's post..I just don't know..but glad to read what was posted..I do have an open mind. Well, that is until we start talking boxed or bagged roses, then I'm right there with you and pretty opinionated.

grandpasrose
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I'm sure there's room for you on our bandwagon! :lol: :lol:
Thanks.

Val
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Val's right; I git a little preachy on certain topics and global warming is a big button for me. Apologies for ranting...

Arkansas, I'm a potted rose guy. Don't like bags or boxes myself; sounds like we are of a like mind?

Scott

grandpasrose
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Scott, I was only teasing you, and you will notice, I included myself in the same sentence! :lol:
I think it's wonderful to see someone passionate about something, and isn't the forum a place to express our opinions? Of course, I guess we should wait till someone asks for our opinion - they won't know what they're in for!! :lol:

I'm a potted rose person too - as you may have gathered - I don't think I have ever purchased a rose otherwise. I have travelled 600 miles just so I could get a certain rose potted rose, instead of mail order. Do you think I'm a little over the edge when it comes to my roses? :?

Val
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Not a bit. Good stock is the start of good gardening, and roses are a particularly good example of that principle (hence the grading system). I have always gotten the best plants nursery grown, in the can.

Dyvonne, did you ever prune those roses? Started all about them in the first place, did it not? Have you made any sense of this? :wink:

Scott

dyvonnetxgal
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Actually HG, I did not prune them because I chose to go buy the Houston Rose Society and their annual pruning guide. Glad I did because we have had some back and forth temps and we had a cool front come in last night. Also a morning or two in the 30's....I think a day....ahahahha.....Yup a day!! I have been reading everything that everyone has posted. I have bought all of my roses from local garden centers such as MAAS of Kemah and a few others. But seeing those poor plants shrivled up and then not really taken care of is kind of sickening. I don't know maybe I am just too sensitive.
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Nope, not to me. Might as well be beating puppies... :evil:

Scott

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and I thought I was extreme, Val. I've only driven 500 miles (round trip) to buy roses. No local vendors in my area carry OGRs and though I do mailorder, there's nothing like a trip to a rose garden and a nursery to see them in bloom.

While we're talking pruning.. I mentioned in an earlier post about pruning some of my winter hardy roses already. I don't usually do that until later, in early spring, because of the resulted new growth. This winter has been so unusually warm that the roses are putting out new growth anyway..so what would be the harm in going ahead and pruning at this time?? Water is an issue with the drought and I'm wondering if the smaller bushes would require less moisture, thus offsetting any harm by early pruning.

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I always do a fall pruning and a spring pruning; long canes can get bashed about by winter winds so I take them all to 2' and then do a regular prune in spring

grandpasrose
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Obviously, because of the winter I have, I prune in the fall, and then in spring as well, but this is so that I can cover them.
All I can say Arkansasrose, is that it is my own inclination or instinct to stay with the status quo and do the routine as I have always done because I know it works. If we continued to have the kind of winters that we are having this year, so that we could grow to rely on it a little more, then I would probably adjust. But this is an anomally - when it is out of the ordinary, stick with the tried and true. Your call of course! :?

Your smaller bushes won't have a lot of water in their canes anyway, so eliminating the water they do get would not make much of a difference. Your bushes should be dormant, meaning they are not moving nutrients from the ground up.

My 600 mile trip is one way - so 1200 round trip. I only do this once in a while, as the nurseries up here only carry the same roses over and over again, and I am looking for something different. When I do go, I make it worth my while believe me - the car is full!! 8)

Val
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Southern growing is not something I have long experience with, so local knowledge is often best. Why, I have heard tell of 12' tall David Austin's in Georgia, when the man himself says the rose only gets to 6'! :o

Which brings up an interesting point; When David Austin grows and raises a rose for English climates, how does that translate for you Texan gardeners? As a New England gardener (barely literate on roses), does my style hold any creedance? Gardening is more art than artifice, less science than alchemy. I look to the magic of bonsai to tell me that holding a tree(or rose) tighter will conserve energies, living longer and creating more fruiting points (flowers, in the roses case). Val's roses may go through h*ll everywinter, but they shut down and rest and start anew with a solid year of root growth for basically the same top it started the previous year with. Seems to me that might be extended to roses in Dallas as well. Maybe even more so as the amount of energy dedicated to growing canes (with all that sunshine just a little nitrogen will shoot green growth) might be diverted to growing flowers.

Could be that Vancouver techniques might work in Dallas or Arkansas; we won't know unless some enterprising, talented, goodlookin' young rose grower tries it... :wink:

Val, have you ever bought online?

grandpasrose
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I have never bought roses on line. I have bought seeds etc. but never roses, though I have looked. It always comes down to being nervous about not being able to see what I am getting. I like to be able look at all the choices, and pick the best one, whereas ordering I just get sent the next one in line. Picky I know, but for what my roses go through, they need to have as much of a head start as possible!

I actually think that having to cut my roses down every year, gives me a healthier bush in the spring than being left and then just touched up in the spring. They come shooting out of the ground like wildfire, and are as big as the ones that don't get cut back in no time. All the energy being used to keep that whole plant alive, is being stored up when they are cut off, not wasted trying to hang in there through the winter.:wink:

Val
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THAT's my thought there too Val. Pruning as conservation of energy...

Scott

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The biggest problem we face here (and in Texas when we lived there) were the temperature swings during the winters, sometimes 40-60 degrees within a short period. Many of the roses never go dormant.
I grow a lot of teas, noisettes and chinas that are marginally hardy here. That translates to losing some to the ground while others take the winters fine. So those I never prune until the last in the late spring.

The Austins have all been totally hardy here which translates to having to keep the beasties under control. I've adopted the term "octupus" to describe the growth on many of the Austins in our climate and those get hard pruned in the spring. I have some that get in excess of 14' if I let them go..I've tried that and the hard pruning and yes, the bloom is better on the hard pruned ones. Unfortunately, "enterprising, talented, goodlookin' young rose grower" doesn't describe me, however, that has been my experience with the Austins over several years with about 50 varieties from him.

Just as a footnote on the record as to temperature swings and something you might find interesting..I have a copy of a journal from a nurseryman in the northwest part of our state. Jacob Smith kept this journal from January, 1852 thru January, 1886. The entry of note was duing that first year when on January 19, the temperature was 28 degrees below zero followed by 70 degrees at noon on January 28. He also noted that many of the roses were lost that year. One constant I did see thru the years in his journal was the arrival date of the hummingbirds..it's still the same after all these years.

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Wow Arkansas, sounds like you have quite the rose garden! :)

Yes Austins down south appear to be wild things compared to the same roses here or in England; glad you have found them to be of value to your landscape (I DO like them) and have found the protocols to make them work for you. And don't count yerself out of that good lookin' young group just yet; it's all relative :wink:

The old journal notes are interesting; seems odd weather has been with us for a while. But next time you are watching weather and wondering how they get it SO wrong nowadays, keep in mind the models are built on weather data from way back; the primary sourcing is Royal Navy records going back to the 1700's. And the models are not behaving like our weather patterns of late; I suspect that rising ocean temps and widely modulating jet stream patterns are not factored in just yet. Just a hunch, but a strong one...

Nice post Arkansas; hope to see you here for a while... :D

HG

Scott

grandpasrose
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That is so cool to have that old journal! 8) I love finding those kinds of things, and hang onto them whenever I can. Of course, I am also a geneologist, so keeping old stuff hanging around just comes naturally I guess.

This is just a thought that passes through my mind regarding the roses that you sometimes lose because of the temperature fluctuations. I'm not sure if it would even work, but what if you insulated them so that they stayed at a more constant temperature. They wouldn't get as hot, and they wouldn't get as cold. Like maybe trying a rose cone or something? It's just a thought.

I would love to be able to see your roses - I think you probably have many more than I do, and you certainly have more variety. I'll bet they're gorgeous!! :D

Val
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Sure a block of ice could go a long way in a short but hard temperature swing. Keeping those roots cool and moist might help keep it sleepy...

And cones are white and reflective and might keep some cool for some longer...

It's a thought...

arkansasrose
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We do protect some of the ones I really want to keep..chicken wire cages and oak leaves do a pretty good job. I also add mulch heavily on some. The biggest problem can be the big climbers..thank goodness most of mine are pretty hardy here.

I have some picture albums on picturetrails.com. User name is: arkansasrose100

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Thanks AR, I'll be sure to take a look...

Scott

grandpasrose
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You have alot of roses!!!!!! Your photos are gorgeous, and I'll bet your yard smells beautiful all the time with all those roses. I noticed that you have done alot of stonework as well, which is alot of work in itself.
Very lovely yard! :wink:

Val
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Brugmansia and Musa! Thought I was in the tropics for a minute! :lol:

An amazing garden. Nice vistas, great seasonality, and a very apparent amount of love spent here. Thank you AR.

Shares well with others...A+ 8)

Scott
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

arkansasrose
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Thank you both. Arkansas has proven to be a wonderful choice for aretirement for my husband and me. Acidic soil and a fairly temperate climate have been kind to our gardening attempts, rocks are plentiful for edging the beds..soil is in short supply. Glad you enjoyed the overview..and I hope to be adding some more pictures this spring.

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:D

HG



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