Cyclone Rake Blog: gardening
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions for Yard Equipment

      It’s the start of a new year, and the middle of winter, meaning lawn care may seem far from your mind. But it’s never too soon to make sure your lawn and garden tools and supplies are ready to go for spring - and resolving to keep your yard tools well-maintained is a New Year’s resolution that may prove possible to keep. Start this year out right, with some time in your garage, storage shed or barn, making sure maintenance is up-to-date for all the tools you’ll need this spring – or finishing routine maintenance that may have slipped by before the holidays.
            Pay special attention to all the engines in your care: lawnmowers, lawn tractors,
trimmers and weedeaters, and other engine-powered machines, such as the Cyclone SuperHauler. Late fall and winter is a good time for replacing spark plugs and changing oil, if you forgot that task after the lawn care season. Use fluids according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, always storing fluids in approved containers and disposing used oil properly. Inspect and clean or replace filters as needed. Be sure mower decks are clean and blades are sharp, ready for the first grass cutting in the spring. If you send your lawn tractor to a mechanic for an annual tune-up, make that appointment now and beat the spring rush.
            Then, take time to inspect and maintain the moving parts on your tools – including tools without an engine. Many machines, from lawnmowers to lawn shears, have moving parts needing only an occasional application of grease or oil. Apply lubricants as needed, being sure to follow the guidelines in owner’s manuals. If you forgot to give a final fall cleaning for lawn equipment in storage, like the Cyclone Rake and other tools, take some time to be sure they are cleaned and stored properly. Inspect all the tires and wheels on your tools for excessive or unusual wear, which may signal a need for replacement or additional maintenance. It’s not too late to apply a coat of linseed oil to condition and preserve wooden tool handles, in case you overlooked that task in the fall.

            Yard care supplies also include things without moving parts, like fertilizer and seed and other soil amendments. Always store fertilizers and seeds in a dry location; keep grass seed left from last year in a cool place, like a basement, where the seed will not freeze. And use these winter months to take stock of your supplies, making a list for supplies needed closer to spring. That will help you meet the aim of your New Year’s resolution for maintaining lawn equipment and supplies: a truly beautiful, healthy lawn and garden.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pruning Roses - A Primer

Roses are among the most loved flowering plants, and spring pruning is necessary to keep most varieties blooming. While you should always check your local gardening calendar for proper spring pruning, here are some proven pruning tips to keep roses blooming in landscapes, especially in areas from the Rocky Mountains east to New England.

Know What Rose is Your Rose
Different roses get pruned differently. The main categories of roses are:

1) repeat bloomers, like hybrid teas as well as grandifloras and floribundas
2) climbers/ramblers
3) shrub roses, also called old garden types

There are two pruning “seasons” for roses. One is spring pruning, just as buds break dormancy. The other pruning happens just after roses flower.

The type of rose determines whether the rose needs spring pruning. Repeat bloomers usually need a heavy spring pruning just as the buds break dormancy. Climbers and ramblers, as well as old-fashioned shrub roses, are only pruned after flowering. Other types, especially newer climber/rambler cultivars like climbing hybrid tea roses, need little or minimal pruning.

The time has passed in many areas for spring rose pruning. But if you live in a colder zone – or are just a little late to the spring pruning party – here’s a helpful article on spring pruning, from Purdue University.

Tips for All Types
Again, we can’t emphasize enough: you must prune your rosebushes in the way that’s suited for the rose type and your particular growing zone. But no matter what your zone or rose type, here are some surefire tips for successful pruning, courtesy of Clemson University Extension:

  • Remove damaged, dying or diseased stems and canes as soon as you spot them.
  • Use a pruning tool that minimizes damage to the rosebush. Pruners that cut like a pair of scissors are usually better than “anvil” style pruners that crush stems.
  • The center of the canes or stems should appear white, not brown, after cutting. If there is brown discoloration, cut more of the stem off.
  • Keep the center of the rosebush open by making pruning cuts above buds set to grow outward from the plant.
  • Seal pruning cuts made on rose canes thicker than a pencil; Clemson recommends using nail polish or wood glue. This will help keep out cane pests.
  • Older climbing/rambling varieties produce the best flowers on one-year old wood. Prune away only the oldest stems, after flowering.

Proper pruning keeps your roses delivering beautiful blooms for many seasons. For more information, here are some free information resources that we found most informative:

Pruning Roses (Clemson University)

Roses: Care After Planting (University of Missouri)
Includes detailed pruning diagrams

Pruning Roses (Colorado)