Late Season Rose Pruning & Messy Olives

Question:

 I have several roses that are six to seven feet tall that haven't been pruned in several years. Is it too late to prune them as the new growth is already appearing? If it's okay, then how far back do I go? I've heard that roses will go into shock if you remove more than half of their growth. 

Answer:

  • It’s never too late to prune roses. Actually, all types of roses are pruned year-round.
  • The appearance of new growth does not signal the end of the pruning season, nor does it shock the plant. I’m not aware that there were any limitations when pruning roses. The more I think about it, and it just doesn't make any sense. When pruning, you haven't disturbed any of the roots, just reduced the canes' length; therefore, no trauma has resulted.
  • Roses are pruned every time you remove the spent flowers. It's just not thought of as a pruning activity. We're concerned with the bush structure during the winter, as the leaves don't block our view—shaping and preventing the plants from overgrowing a location is the focus the rest of the year.
  • Roses that are severely pruned in late March or April bloom later than those pruned earlier.
    • I wouldn't have any problem cutting the bushes down to three feet, but you might not feel comfortable about that height, so you select a more appropriate size, and don't forget to reduce the side growth.
    • All dead wood is eliminated and removes any stems that are crossing over another. You keep the one that adds to the overall shape of the plant. After each flowering cycle, you remove the spent flowers and shape the plant to control the growth by pruning the top and sides.
  •  Again the amount is a judgment call on your part. If you make a mistake, it's not the end of the world, as roses of all types recover. The fear that the plants will die from pruning is just a myth. I've found that roses are very resilient plants and can take a lot of abuse from a pair of hand shears.

Question:

 I've just finished raking up the last of the mess from my Olive tree. I love the tree, but the olives and other debris are an annual pain. What can I do this year to stop it?

Answer:

  • The leaf drop is a natural occurrence, so there isn't much you can do to prevent this, but you can stop the olive from forming. Florel Fruit Eliminator from Monterey Lawn and Garden aborts the blossom, so the fruit cannot set.
  • The key to Florel’s success is in the timing of the spray. Olives do not bloom all at once. So you have to make repeat applications every five days as the flowers open until the entire tree is in full bloom.
    • The blooming period for Olives is between the last weeks in April and Mother's Day. Florel also works on other plants, so check the label for the complete list.
  •  For many gardeners, this is a problem. The tree's size, the proper equipment, and the cost to hire an applicator are issues for many gardeners.