I've had this itch to prune something for a couple of weeks now. At times, it has been hard to restrain my fingers from scratching the itch, but whenever I was tempted, I would just count to ten and remind myself that there was still cold weather ahead and maybe it wasn't the best of times to be encouraging my plants to put on new growth by pruning them. But this week of winter weather is almost behind us now and in just a few days we'll hit the mid-point of February, the traditional time to prune roses here. Time to dig out the rose gauntlets and sharpen up the Felcos!
Strictly speaking, none of my roses are of a type that demands pruning. In fact, many of the antiques actively resent it. Their attitude seems to be, "I know my job! Just leave me alone and let me do it!" Still, I ignore their resentment and prune them anyway.
I prune my roses for three reasons:
1. To shape them.
2. To remove dead wood and tangled limbs.
3. To encourage more blooms.
Some of them, like the 'Knockouts', get very light pruning, and some, like 'Caldwell Pink' which tends to grow into a huge tangle during the growing season, get pruned more radically. But they all get at least a token haircut.
I'm itching to prune other things as well. I look across my yard and see all that brown stuff left by the frosts and I really want to start cutting it back and removing it to neaten up the appearance of the yard, but I know it's best to just leave it for as long as possible because the dead brown stuff helps protect the live green stuff underneath, so I'll try to restrain myself a little longer.
The grape vines and the old apple tree are ready, though. In fact, I really should have pruned them last month, but I just never got around to it. No more delay! This weekend is the time to scratch that particular itch. What a relief that will be!