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Rose Bushes and Fruit Trees in the Colorado Rockies

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Sslurrpp on March 26, 2006 12:13 PM
Hi, I'm new. [Embarrassed] I've been enjoying reading all the great info, but am having trouble finding suggestions regarding my specific situation.

I just bought a house with a once-loved, recently neglected garden. [Love] The previous owner was an avid gardener until he moved into a nursing home, this was his home for several decades.

I live in Glenwood Springs, CO - on the Western Slope of the Rockies and almost a mile above sea-level. Winters are mild for Colorado, but I am from Kentucky and can't even fathom having such a fruitful, edible garden in this climate. (It was about 30 degrees on the warmest day last week, but this weekend it is 60 and next week is supposed to be blizzard. [Razz] )

My problem is that in addition to being new to gardening in this climate, I am also new to rose bushes (I have a few climbers and a few indistinguishable bushes)and fruit trees - I'm more of a tomato and sugarsnap pea gal.

I've read about roses and fruit trees, but I am having trouble translating it into this climate. Apparently no seedlings or seeds can go in the ground around here until Mother's Day. Should I prune now? The roses look robust, but out-of-hand - they are sprouting new stems and some growth is apparent. What about pruning the trees? Should all have this been done in the realatively mild fall?

HELP!!! [dunno]
by Longy on March 27, 2006 11:46 AM
I'm not a cold climate gardener Slurp, so i'm just flying blind a bit here. I don't think it would be a problem to prune your roses, and give them a weeding and a good drink and a feed too. You may get a reduced flowering as it's a bit late i think, but If you leave it much longer then they'll just be more rampant.
What kind of fruit trees are they? I am guessing they are deciduous ones like stonefruits. Are they showing new growth? I think i'd go easy on any pruning with these, maybe thin out the inward growing branches to allow plenty of air circulation when they are in full leaf and just give a light trim so you can manage them.
I think this should've been done once the leaves had fallen and the plants first went into dormancy. Maybe my answer will prompt some other more knowledgable responses:-)

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The secret is the soil.
by Sslurrpp on March 28, 2006 04:40 AM
I think the trees are plums and apricots and maybe some other fruit - there are five trees and I can only tell by the pits from the fruit that fell to the ground what they might be.

I don't see any new growth on the trees yet. They aren't as out of control as the roses, so maybe I will mostly leave them alone. Thank you for the help.

It's kind of hard to take over a garden mid-winter when you know as little to begin with about the climate and types of plants as I do. Any advise is greatly appreciated!
by peppereater on March 28, 2006 08:17 AM
Sslurrpp...since the trees are dormant, now is the time to prune them, and to apply dormant oil spray.
You can prune the roses, too. If they need some tidying up later, that won't hurt, either. Some of the old rules for roses are being thrown out...Pruning in late summer/fall is no good, but otherwise, light pruning is good anytime, and hard pruning in late winter is ok.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by Sslurrpp on March 28, 2006 12:30 PM
What's dormant oil spray? I haven't read about that. I did do a little work on the roses, mostly just the obviously dead branches - I'd really like to get all the junk out, but it could snow tomorrow. It was 50 degrees today, but I am hesitant to expose too much cut stem. Think it is alright?
by obywan59 on March 28, 2006 12:44 PM
A dormant oil spray, is simply an oil spray that you spray in late winter/early spring while trees are still dormant to kill overwintering insects and eggs. You can buy dormant oils, also called horticultural oils. These are very fine oils which give good coverage. Or, you can do what I did and use vegetable oil. I save vegetable oils I use on the rare occasions I deep fry. In this case, you need to add a little liquid soap to the spray to make the oil spread out more. The recipe I use calls for 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons liquid soap per gallon of water. Spray it all over the branches and trunks of your fruit trees.

As for pruning, the author of my favorite pruning reference recommends pruning stone fruits when they are in bloom, as this is the time of year when pruning cuts heal most rapidly.

I've become a fan of summer pruning of fruit trees. Winter and spring pruning tends to stimulate growth while summer pruning tends to retard it. Last year was the first year I judiciously summer pruned my peaches and I have only minimal spring pruning to do now this year.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by Sslurrpp on March 28, 2006 01:33 PM
Thanks. I better get to work. All the advise is priceless, any other suggestions?
by peppereater on March 28, 2006 11:12 PM
Very interesting, Terry. The old advice was to prune just before bud swell, so that all the energy was put into the buds and remaining branches...it makes sense, but I know the old methods are being questioned for fruit trees. I've read about summer pruning for apples to prevent suckering and reduce fireblight risk. I'd like to find more current info. What book do you have?

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by obywan59 on March 29, 2006 12:32 AM
Dave, I have several books on pruning, but the one I was referring to was The Pruning Book, by Lee Reich.

Summer pruning on apples also gets rid of aphids which tend to cluster on new tip growth, and it helps encourage flower bud formation. What I do, is once new growth reaches a foot long, I pinch the tips off with my fingers, then 2 weeks later I go over the trees again and prune the pinched branches back to within an inch of where the new growth started. This is said to change the carbohydrate balance in the tree making it more likely that the buds that form beneath your pruning cuts will be flowering buds rather than new shoot growth.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by peppereater on March 30, 2006 05:01 AM
thanks, Terri, I'll look into ordering that...all of my reference books are a little out of date.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by dodge on March 31, 2006 11:18 AM
Peppereater,
Why order books ? You can read any topic imaginable , right her on the computer.. Just type in the search box.. Pruning or whatever you want ......youll find all the topic you want ..FREE
Most pruning is done in the early spring and fall.. However be careful on grapes, they will weep if pruned when they have growth.

Welcome aboard.

dodge

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