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Learn pruning tips with Farmer Fred podcast

Local rose experts tackle finer points plus advice on planting new roses

Pink rose bloom
Want to have display-worthy roses? Plant them right and prune them right. Listen to Farmer Fred
Hoffman's latest podcast for tips from the experts. This is Debbie Arrington's Pink Promise rose, which she tackles in one segment of the podcast. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

How do you tackle a 12-foot rose bush? Cut it down to size first.

What about pruning tree roses? Think of them as an elevated bush.

How do you get a bare-root rose off to a healthy start? Begin with a high-quality, healthy plant with strong canes and roots.

Those are some of the finer points of pruning and rose care that local experts share during the latest “Green Acres Garden Podcast with Farmer Fred.”

“All about Roses” includes interviews with master rosarians Debbie Arrington and Charlotte Owendyk as well as rose experts at Green Acres Nursery & Supply. As a bonus, podcast host Farmer Fred Hoffman adds his own “cutting” remarks about pruning perennials, another current chore.

Debbie (of Sacramento Digs Gardening) also shares information about choosing the right tools, dressing for pruning safety (and success) and what to do if your roses are still blooming when it’s time to prune. (Among her tips: Don’t wear knits while pruning; go for denim instead.)

To illustrate techniques, Debbie prunes a gigantic Pink Promise hybrid tea that had grown as tall as the house and was still full of blooms – and leaves.

For her lesson on tree roses, Charlotte uses her Julia Child floribunda tree roses, which annually produce fountains of flowers at eye level.

The bare-root rose segment is hosted by Green Acres’ Folsom staff and features new varieties now available.

Listen for yourself:

Become a Farmer Fred podcast regular. Farmer Fred now hosts two weekly podcasts: “Garden Basics with Farmer Fred” and “Green Acres Garden Podcast with Farmer Fred.” Links to both are available at .


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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