Fresh From The Nursery

Gardener pruning trees with pruning shears on nature background.

Pruning Trees, Shrubs, and Bushes

Early spring is the best time for pruning trees, shrubs, and bushes. This timing provides plants with the whole summer to heal their wounds. When plants are still dormant, it is easier to see the shape and form of the plant you are pruning.

“If a person cannot love a plant after he has pruned it, then he has either done a poor job or is devoid of emotion.” Liberty Hyde Bailey

Spring flowering shrubs, such as chokeberry, lilac and serviceberry should be pruned after flowering and before they set buds for the following season. The summer blooming bushes, potentilla, and spirea can be pruned back to 6-12 inches above the ground in the early spring.

Pruning can be the rejuvenation of an old, unruly shrub that has poor structure due to snow load.

When setting out to prune, spoil yourself with good, sharp tools. Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. The dead and broken limbs need cut first. Then, any crossing or rubbing branches need to removed. Then you can follow up by cutting to control shape and size. Don’t use pruning sealers, as they inhibit the plants natural healing process.


Fertilizing Your Yard

Fertilizing your yard is essential in maintaining healthy lawns and gardens and increasing plant growth rates. However, proper fertilization cannot adequately compensate for poor soil preparation and plant selection. Vigorous, healthy plants are better able to withstand insects and disease as well as harsh climatic conditions typical at this altitude.

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.” Henry Van Dyke, Fisherman’s Luck 1899

We recommend fertilizing everything in the spring.

Some people prefer fall fertilization while others prefer to feed in every season. Please fertilize when you can. However, we feel it may not be beneficial to promote new leafy growth in the fall when plants should be concentrating on storing energy in their roots. Fertilizer leaching over the winter may also be a concern.

The following are our general recommendations for fertilization.

  1. Top dress established trees, shrubs and flower beds with a time release granular fertilizer such as 14-14-14 Apex.
  2. For lawns, we recommend a high nitrogen fertilizer in the early spring for quick greening.
  3. Use a weed and feed application, and then a winterizer in the fall on your lawn.
  4. For flower containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, use Miracle Grow or Super Bloom once weekly.

 It may be preferable to use organic fertilizers when possible.

It is always a good idea to mulch with compost. Apply single ingredient organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bat guano and bone, blood, and kelp meal as needed. Also, we have a complete organic turf fertilizer called Bio Turf for vegetable gardens.,

Iron deficiency is widespread in our area due to the high pH of our soils. The symptoms typically appear on the new growth first and are characterized by yellowing between the leaf veins or overall yellowing in evergreens, Overataring can intensify the efficiency. Pelletized Ironite or liquid Iron Chelate can be used to combat the problem.

hardy shrub roses

Hardy Shrub Roses For High Elevations

Hardy shrub roses can and should be planted in our area whenever possible.

Roses are often overlooked as being fussy and complicated to care for. In fact, they can be as easy to care for as any other flowering shrub. Most modern shrub roses repeat bloom all season, and many are fragrant and disease resistant. There is a shrub rose for every landscape.

Hardy shrub roses are also sometimes referred to as shrub, landscape, or old-fashioned.

Hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora, and tree roses are all non-hardy roses. In order be classified as a hardy shrub rose, the plant must be able to reliably survive the winter without any special protection. Winter damage can be as minimal as a few dead tips on branches or as severe as the canes dying back to the ground. This is dependent on the severity of the winter, and the specific variety of shrub rose.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns…or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

All roses should be grown where they will receive full to part sun and good air circulation.

We recommend mulching with compost every fall. This will provide nutrients for the roses, help with moisture retention, prevent weeds and provide some winter protection.

Spring pruning will be necessary.

After the snow melts, look at the canes to determine how much winter damage they have sustained. It is best if the damage is pruned out before the new growth begins to emerge. Even if the rose dies back to the ground, it should grow back bigger and better than the previous year.

The roses at the nursery are just starting to bud and bloom. Most of them will continue until frost. Some of our favorites include ‘Therese Bugnet,’ ‘William Baffin’, ‘Cuthbert Grant,’ ‘Winnepeg Parks,’ ‘Henry Kelsey’ and the ‘Morden Series’ roses.