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Timely tendings: Prune roses, fight snails

Roses should be pruned once each year during January or February in our area. This major yearly pruning consists of removing some healthy growth and all of the dead, injured, diseased or unsightly branches. Leave at least half the length of each main cane that is 1 to 3 years old. The rose bush should bloom again in eight to nine weeks. Pruning cuts should be made just above an outward-facing dormant bud. Be sure to clean up clippings from around your plants after pruning to help prevent the spread of disease. Apply a layer of fresh mulch, keeping it 2 to 3 inches away from the base of the plant.

. Night dampness brings out snails and slugs. An alternative to traditional baits is diatomaceous earth. This powder contains tiny sharp projectiles that will puncture the snails and slugs. Sprinkle lightly around plants. This will not harm beneficial insects or pets. Another alternative is iron phosphate bait, which also has the advantage of being safe for use around domestic animals and wildlife.

Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at and

Timely tendings: Prune roses, fight snails 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 3:30am]
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