Are your roses refusing to rest? January’s unseasonably warm and dry weather has prompted many rosebushes to start “breaking buds” and sprouting growth. Many are still blooming on last year’s stems. If you haven’t already, it’s time to tell your roses: Take a break.
Finish pruning, even if it means snipping off those new blooms. (Bring them indoors for a bouquet.) Remove any old leaves left over from last season that may be clinging to stems and canes; those just invite fungal disease. Also, rake up debris around the bushes (that’s where those fungi are lurking) and apply a new layer of mulch, preferably wood chips or small bark.
Elsewhere in the garden this week:
▪ Remove old or browned flowers from azaleas and camellias to reduce petal blight.
▪ If needed, apply a final dormant spray to deciduous fruit trees before the flower buds swell and open. This is especially important with peaches and nectarines to fight leaf curl; use a spray that contains copper.
▪ Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong blast of water or insecticidal soap.
▪ Transplant or direct-seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta daisy, painted daisy and stock.
▪ In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb.
▪ Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct-seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.