Monday, January 4, 2010

Pruning Time

This is a great time of year for roses in our Arizona desert, but it's also pruning time. As much as I hate to do it, I'm going to have to cut them back and strip the leaves in preparation for spring. We have not yet had any frost, so the roses have really had prolific blooms lately.  'Lady Elsie May', a repeat blooming shrub rose is my latest rose bush. It is the only one that I won't be doing any heavy pruning on, but it's still going to get a good haircut! I'm taking a chance on this rose--I'm not sure if it will do well in our summer heat.

Rosa 'Queen Elizabeth' 

Rosa 'Peace'

Rosa 'Hello Dolly'

Rosa 'Gold Glow

Rosa 'Red Intrepid'

Rosa 'Tiffany'

We have already pruned back all the Red Birds of Paradise and the Lantana shrubs will soon be cut back to the ground. Both will come back around March 1-15. This year we didn't get to cutting back the Purple Fountain Grass. Last year, the grass had a hard time coming back after pruning. These shrubs are now very dense and they actually need to be thinned drastically. I've tried that last year, but all I got this past summer was a dead middle and some puny plumes on the outside perimeter of the plants.

I'm also very disappointed in the Texas Sage shrubs. They really look bad--to the point I'm considering just taking them all out. I don't know what went wrong this year; perhaps the fact that we ended the year with less than half the expected average rainfall for the region. I did give all the landscape shrubs supplemental water in the heat of summer, but maybe not enough. Even with the cooler weather, they just look dry and sparse and just plain ugly. With my landscape maturing and filling in, I could do without these anyway.


MAT kinase said...

How do you prune your roses (e.g. how many canes do you leave and of what thickness, and what time of the year in relation to dormancy?)

Aiyana said...

The attached link can give you info on rose gardening in the low desert, including a monthy chart of tasks.

Pruning should be done just when the bushes are breaking dormancy, but here, sometimes that doesn't happen, so January is the the best month as rampant growth starts in early February. After I thin the bushes--pruning out the smallest canes and any dead or damaged canes, I have four to eight vigorous canes that are thumb-size or larger in diameter. My bushes are young, so most canes are not yet that thick, so I just have the largest canes left. I prune all canes back to a height of 18 to 24 inches above the base of the bush.
I prune the bush to make it more open in the center. It increases air circulation and helps prevent diseases. Since rose bushes send out new growth from the bud just below a pruning cut, I make pruning cuts above a leaf bud facing out from the center of the plant. After pruning, I seal the cut ends with Elmer's glue.

Lythrum said...

Beautiful roses. :) I am in rose withdrawal, it's nice to be able to sneak a fix from you. :)

Julie said...

No matter, it seems the roses always look gorgeous! Prune will be well worth it!!!

Dee said...

I missed pruning last year but I've been out doing it this year. My Texas Sage was the same this year- no blooms, and it just looked awful. I cut it way back- not sure if it will grow out but if it doesn't I will replace it with something else.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

These are absolutely breathtaking! I love knowing that while my east coast garden is frozen solid, you are growing these beauties of color and scent. Sigh. Can smell them from here.

Andrea said...

The seasons have been giving us lots of work to do. Here we just leave our shrubby ornamentals like lantana, ixora, bird of paradise on their own and they bloom all year round. We just prune them when they become unruly or damaged by strong typhoon during the rainy season, otherwise they are just like perennials. Our blooms are all year too. By the way, these rose photos are so marvelous, they look so delicate and fresh, wonderful.

Babara said...

Lucky you, your pruning is already done! We still have to wait for this "job" as snow covers the garden again. I wonder how all my roses have survived this hard and rather long winter. I wait and see! It's so good to see your beautiful roses. I am looking forward to smelling mine when it is June ;-) !!
Greetings from a wintery garden!