Garden Guide: Raspberry to Rudbeckia

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Garden Guide: Raspberry to Rudbeckia

Plant Care and Garden Guide: From Raspberry to Rudbeckia


PLANTING: Space raspberries 3 to 4 feet apart with rows 6 feet apart. Choose a sunny location, with a soil that has been well and deeply prepared with organic matter. Plants perform best when given support; the canes should be tied to a wide fence or strong wire strung between 2 posts. Cut back canes 9 to 12 inches.

MAINTENANCE: After the first fruiting season, prune out the raspberry canes which have borne fruit, leaving the new canes to produce fruit the following year. These new canes should be thinned, cutting the weaker canes back to ground level and keeping the strongest, which should be tied on to the support structure. In the case of everbearing raspberries, new canes should not be thinned; instead, cut them back to the top support wire (approximately 3 to 4 feet) the following spring. An annual application of 10-10-10 each spring will encourage optimum fruit production. (Later application might produce soft growth, subject to winter injury.) A year round mulch is beneficial and helps reduce weeds. Zones 4-8.

RHAMNUS frangula - Columnaris Tallhedge,Upright Glossy Buckthorn, Tallhedge

PLANTING: For use as a hedge, set plants 4 feet apart to allow for ultimate growth, or closer for rapid coverage. Before planting, prepare the soil well and deeply, adding organic matter. R. frangula is tolerant of a wide range of soil types. Full sun will provide maximum fruit production, but plants will also prosper in light shade. Mulch well after planting.

MAINTENANCE: Though sides of plants should not need pruning, prune tops to obtain desired height. Such pruning is best done before growth starts in spring, and again during early summer as needed. Water liberally during hot, dry weather, especially in the first couple of years, as plants establish themselves. Zones 2-8.


PLANTING: Spacing will depend upon ultimate height and spread of the rhododendron variety or species you’ve chosen. A cool, moisture-retentive, acid soil (pH 4.5 to 6.5), particularly one that contains a high percentage of organic matter to hold moisture, is best. The location should, in addition, be protected against drying winds and winter afternoon sun. Rhododendrons are shallow rooted and should not be planted too deep: the heavier the soil, the shallower the planting. Do not fertilize at planting time.

MAINTENANCE: Keep rhododendron plants well-watered, even in dry periods in the fall - a coarse mulch, 2 to 3 inches deep, to retain moisture and keep the soil temperatures cool, is beneficial. This will also keep down weeds, eliminating the need to cultivate, which could pose a danger to shallow roots. Spent flowers should be removed. Zones various.

RHUS typhina - Staghorn Sumac

PLANTING: Rhus prefer a sandy to loamy soil as long as there is not much organic matter present. Good drainage is essential as these plants can thrive in poor, dry, sandy soils. Plant in full sun and space plants 5-8 feet apart.

MAINTENANCE: During the first year provide water during periods of hot, dry weather. Fertilize in the spring with a handful of 5-10-10 fertilizer sprinkled around the base of the plant and water in well. Prune out unwanted or crowded branches in late winter. Use a sharp spade to remove undesirable root sprouts as they appear. Zones 3-9.


PLANTING: These plants are at home in moist, humus rich soil in full sun or light shade.

MAINTENANCE: Keep plants moist. Rodgersia do well in marshy areas at the edge of a pond or in a bog garden. Divide plants in the spring. Zones 5-8

ROSE - Includes all modern and old-fashioned types

PLANTING: Upon receipt, a bare-rooted rose should be immersed in water for several hours. Never let the plant dry out after soaking and before planting. If planting is to be delayed several days, keep moist (especially the roots) and store in a cool place. If planting is to be delayed a week or more, “heel in” the plant, temporarily covering the roots with moist soil or peat. Plant in the spring in a location with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Roses are widely tolerant of soils, but happiest in a moisture retentive, well-drained soil slightly on the acid side and enhanced with humus or decayed organic matter. Space 4 to 10 feet apart, depending on ultimate spread or use. In areas where temperatures drop below 0° F., set so that the bud union (if plants are budded) is 2 inches below ground level; in warmer areas, set so that the union is above or just about at ground level. Meidiland roses are grown on their own roots, and therefore, are not budded. Mound additional soil or compost around canes to a height of 2 inches from the cane ends to prevent moisture loss. When buds start to swell, usually about 7 to 10 days after planting, remove mounded soil or mulch. We recommend a 2-inch year-round mulch over the soil surface. A strong stake is advisable for the taller growing varieties if planted in a location subject to wind.

MAINTENANCE: Many varieties display resistance to pests and disease; however, precautionary measures are advisable on a reduced schedule. Fertilize with a standard rose fertilizer after growth has commenced and periodically (as per instructions) up until late summer. (Fertilizing in the fall can cause soft growth and subject plants to winter injury.) Prune Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, English, and other modern shrub types in early spring before new growth starts, removing any dead, weak or old wood and cutting the plant by 2/3 to 1/2 its length. Taller, more vigorous varieties can be pruned less to allow them to develop an attractive shrub form; however, flowering may be less continuous. Climbers should be pruned in early spring to remove only a few of the older, thicker canes that no longer flower well. The remaining canes can be lightly pruned for shaping as needed. Old-fashioned types that don’t rebloom should only be pruned in midsummer after flowers fade to remove the older, thicker canes and shorten the remaining canes as needed for shaping.

Winter care for Tree Roses: Once the night temperature averages below freezing for 3 to 4 weeks and the plants become dormant, trim the top canes about 5 or 6 inches. In zones 6 & 7, wrap the entire plant with strips of either burlap or stem-wrapping paper (like used on tree trunks). begin wrapping from the bottom of the trunk, overlapping the layers in and around the graft and the stems at the top of the plant, until only the tips are exposed. In zones 4 & 5, wrap trunk and top as described and then staple a cylinder of tar paper around trunk. Then wrap a larger piece of burlap over the entire top of the rose, tying it tightly to keep it in place. Finally, mound 6 to 8 inches of soil around the base of the plant. Zones various.

ROSMARINUS officinalis - Rosemary

PLANTING: Set rosemary plants 18 inches apart in full sun. Light, well-drained soil is essential.

MAINTENANCE: Do not let soil dry out when rosemary plants are establishing themselves; once established they are quite drought tolerant. Prune as necessary after flowering to enhance appearance and encourage bushy growth. May be potted and brought in for the winter in the North; otherwise provide a winter mulch. Zone 7-10.

INDOOR CULTURE: Select a sunny window, preferably a southern exposure. Be sure that it is not exposed to drafts, and that a heat vent does not blow directly on it. Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings; do not mist the foliage. Fertilize from spring until fall with a houseplant fertilizer, according to instructions. Replant into the next larger size pot after about six months. During frost-free months, it may be taken outside to bright areas that receive indirect sunlight. Zones 7-11.

RUBUS - See Raspberry (above)

RUDBECKIA species - Black-eyed Susan

PLANTING: Set rudbeckia plants 15 to 18 inches apart. Choose a site in sun, nearly any soil will do, so long as it is well-drained.

MAINTENANCE: Water plants during periods of drought. (If your summers tend to be hot and dry, a summer mulch will help conserve moisture.) Attention to deadheading will encourage the longest possible blooming season, and also prevent inferior seedlings. Cut back to the ground after blooms end, and apply a winter mulch after the ground freezes. Divide black-eyed Susans in spring or fall every 3 to 5 years, as needed to rejuvenate. Zones various.