Ask the Gardener: Rose bush, cauliflower, apple trees and more

Posted on: November 15, 2019 | Written By: Doug Oster | Comments

Everybody Gardens editor Doug Oster gets asked a lot of questions. A lot. And he doesn’t mind offering gardening advice. But rather than just limiting those answers to the person who asked, we thought it might be a good idea to share that wealth of knowledge with everybody.

There are three ways to send in your questions:

  • Email askdoug@535mediallc.com
  • Submit your question on our “Your Garden” section of our site
  • Send us a message on Facebook.

(The questions may be lightly edited for grammar/clarity/etc.)

rose bush

Question 1: Rose bush

Linda: When is the best time to cut back a rose bush and how low should they be cut?

Doug: It’s best done in the spring, right when the new growth appears. It depends on what type of rose variety as to how they should be cut. Many don’t need any pruning unless they’re in the way. The hybrid teas and other can be cut back by about a third to invigorate them.

Question 2: Cauliflower

Carla: I have a quick question about my cauliflower that I planted at the beginning of September that hasn’t formed heads yet: Is there still hope, or should I compost it?

Doug: I would cover it with a floating row cover or some hoops and plastic and see how it does, especially if we get a warm up. Check out this link to see how I do it.

Question 3: Apple tree

Lauren: I have a potted apple tree that I have not been able to plant in the ground. Is it too late to try to plant? Should I put the pot in the veggie garden and cover with leaves till spring or maybe put in our unheated garage? What do you think?

Doug: Give it lots of protection right now until the weather breaks again and then get it in the ground. I’ve still got trees to plant. I’ll get them in when we get back up into the 40s or 50s.

Question 4: Pussy willow

Sue: I planted a pussy willow from a cutting in the spring, and it is doing very well. I thought it was going to die but new shoots started. Should I maybe add burlap to protect it for the winter and salt from the road crew?

Doug: Yes, it’s the salt we’re worried about so some kind of barrier would help. They are very hardy though. That’s cool that you were able to get one going from a cutting.

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Doug Oster is manager and editor of Everybody Gardens with a passion for gardening and a love of sharing is experiences with other gardeners. You will also find Doug’s gardening contributions in the Tribune-Review each week. He’s an Emmy Award winning producer, television host and writer. Oster is co-host of The Organic Gardeners Radio show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh. Oster’s Outstanding Documentary Emmy was awarded for Gardens of Pennsylvania, a one hour special he conceived and produced for the PBS affiliate WQED. Doug appears every Thursday morning on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today live at 9 a.m. “Gardening is fun, he says, enjoy every day spent outside tending vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees.”