Monday, February 25, 2013

To Prune or Not

Since it is rather late in the season for pruning the roses in northeast Florida, I would leave branches alone that show a vigorous growth.  Cut out branches that are crossing each other.  Rake up dead leaves on the ground that may be disease ridden and dispose of them properly, not in the compost pile but send them out for the waste management to pick up.  Mulch the rose beds with pine straw or pine bark to keep the ground moist and the weeds at bay.

I recently moved three Evelyn Roses that I planted in honor of my granddaughter's birthday a few year's ago.  They were in a dark and dank spot by the pond.  I moved them so that they may bask in full morning sun for a few hours.  They seem to like it, putting out fresh greenery, and even a bud or two.

Th azaleas are in full bloom.  Leave them alone for the time being and enjoy their colors.  Once they have ceased blooming, trim off the wilted blooms and even up the new growth.  Go gently with the shears.  Let them grow and become their own bushes in their own right, if you know what I mean.  After the blooms are gone, fertilize only if the azaleas are young.  If you do fertilize, follow the direction on the fertilizer created for azaleas.  In general, full grown and well developed bushes do well by themselves; however, they do like the acidity of pine straw or bark mulch.

In a recent article in The Florida Times-Union, the Master Gardner on Call, wrote that it is your preference to prune the hibiscus or not.  I have enjoyed the red blooms on my hibiscus all winter long. It is growing straight up, reaching for the sun, and I will let it.

This is also a good time to prune the Crepe Myrtle.  By that I mean snip off last year's dead blooms.  If there are branches touches, prune them too.  Do not under any circumstances go berserk and cut off healthy branches to make knobby distorted knees.  It is a misconception to prune the Crepe Myrtle that severely.  Yes, it is ugly!  You may have seen them on median or under utility wires along the road side.  It amazes me that they will grow and blossom.

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