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Best gloves for pruning roses?

Gauntlets, such as these from Bear Wallow Glove Company, protect arms and hands while pruning roses.
(Photo: Debbie Arrington)
Goatskin offers excellent puncture resistance

When it comes to rose pruning, protection is crucial.

I know. I have the scars to prove it.

Fine-pointed prickles (a.k.a. thorns) can be wickedly painful. They easily penetrate most cloth or plastic garden gloves. They also snag on anything knit. Wearing rose-resistant gloves makes pruning much more enjoyable.

Leather (or at least something very thick, durable and puncture resistant) is a must. Most cowhide leather work gloves are tough enough to withstand bigger thorns. But they tend to not fit smaller or slimmer hands. Long prickles also find a way through split leather and cloth tops or cuffs, common features in work glove design.

Many longtime rosarians, like myself, use goatskin gloves. All leather, they protect the whole hand. Their fine grain is very rose-prickle resistant.

According to work glove makers, goatskin is considered the most puncture- and abrasion-resistant leather, important attributes when pruning roses. Goatskin's natural stretch allows the gloves to fit close and stay flexible. They provide protection while retaining dexterity, important for pruning smaller rose bushes.

Goatskin gloves are relatively inexpensive, about $20 a pair, and last for years. An example: Wells Lamont
goatskin work gloves , available at Ace Hardware and Amazon.

As part of its American Heritage line, Bear Wallow Glove Company makes an excellent goatskin garden glove that stays pliable after getting wet. Bear Wallow gloves are available at nurseries as well as Amazon.

Usually while pruning, goatskin gloves and a woven long-sleeved shirt are enough covering for my hands and arms. I wear knit layers underneath the long sleeves, but try not to wear knits on top; the roses snag sweaters every time.

On damp days, I wear deerskin gloves. Like goatskin, deerskin is flexible, lightweight and thorn resistant. (Deers love to eat roses; their hides have built-in thorn resistance.) A big plus: Deerskin retains its suppleness after getting wet. It doesn’t dry stiff. If I drop a glove, the bright gold color is easy to see in the garden.

Deerskin gloves stay soft after getting wet. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)
In addition to the company’s plain deerskin work gloves, the Wells Lamont Comfort Hyde deerskin gloves come insulated (available online at Amazon); that’s great for winter pruning.

For the big jobs, I pull out the gauntlets. These are 18-inch ballroom-length leather gloves with goatskin hands and 12-inch cowhide sleeves. From Bear Wallow, they have survived a decade of climbers.
Available at nurseries or online at Amazon, these Protector Rose Gauntlet Gloves are expensive (about $60), but they're like armor against particularly thorny problems.

Besides pruning, they also come in handy when taking the cat to the vet.


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For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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