Q. I did not want to prune my roses too early because I was afraid frost would damage the tender new growth stimulated by my pruning. I am noticing that new shoots are starting to develop. Is it too early or too late to prune now?
A. Generally, the best time to prune roses is when forsythia (the yellow flowering shrub that blooms in early spring) is in full bloom. It is more difficult to prune once new shoots develop without damaging developing new shoots. However, roses are forgiving shrubs. Even if you accidentally knock off or damage some of the new shoots, you will still have plenty of growth and flowers this year.
Many gardeners like to prune shrub roses back to a height of 12 to 18 inches, leaving four to six healthy canes, and removing any spindly, diseased or dead growth. If you leave taller canes, there will be more flowers, but they will be smaller. If you prune more severely, there will be fewer flowers, but they will be larger. Whatever height you prune back to, try making your cuts at outward facing buds to avoid new growth that crowds the center of the plant.
The Master Food Preserver program is for Benton and Franklin county residents, and begins on April 19.
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Q. Can you tell me about the Master Food Preserver program and how I can become a volunteer?
A. The Master Food Preserver program is a food safety outreach program with the goal of helping others handle and preserve foods safely in their homes. Across the nation, the master volunteer programs, such as such as Master Food Preservers and Master Gardeners, are affiliated with the land grant university in the state (i.e. Washington State University). In exchange for extensive education and training, a master volunteer does outreach education on behalf of the university. Duties can include answering phone calls, staffing information booths, developing and holding exhibits, and judging at fairs.
If you are interested in becoming a Master Food Preserver, call the Benton County Extension office at 509-735-3551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is available for Benton and Franklin county residents and begins April 19.
Q. What is the Animal Disease Traceability System, and how do I get a Premises Identification Number?
A. The Animal Disease Traceability System allows for rapid tracking of animals if a disease outbreak were to occur. On the Washington State Department of Agriculture website, you can apply for a Premises ID using the PDF form, or apply online. All of the pertinent information can be found at http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AnimalID.