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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - August 01, 2008

From: Sandwich, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning and deadheading rosa rugosa while blooming
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you prune the dead flowers and branches of rosa rogosa while it is still blooming?

ANSWER:

Just about any member of the Rosaceae family will profit from deadheading and judicious pruning. They will put on fresh growth and it will also promote further blooming. It's not a job we personally would want to take on. Although we live in the land of Prickly Pear cactus and Agave with its formidable armor, we wouldn't voluntarily try pruning a rosa rugosa. The stems are incredibly spiny, densely covered in gray, needle-like thorns. However, in Massachusetts, with your early hard winters, we would not suggest pruning any more after August 1, although deadheading can continue. By pruning, you promote new growth and it might not have time to harden off before Winter. Rosa rugosa is a native of northern China, Korea and Japan, and therefore would not appear in our Native Plant Database. This USDA Plants Profile for Rosa rugosa indicates that it is widely grown in Massachusetts.

We found this forum iVillage Garden Web on Pruning Rosa Rugosa Roses that we thought you might find amusing. Apparently, you're either for 'em or agin 'em, with a lot of strong opinions, but you also could pick up some useful information from other gardeners with experience with the plants. For instance, several gardeners offer tips on picking up those stems without impaling yourself.


 

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