August is the month that gives the most promise in roses, for in a week or two most will have shoots a centimetre or more and will be bursting with vitality.
This new growth is too short to be damaged by winds and aphids while other pests have barely had time to make their presence felt.
From around the scars where large old shoots have been cut away, more shoots than desired will make their appearance.
If they are all allowed to grow they will take over the bush with many not headed in the right direction.
Where possible select the most desirable and push the unwanted ones off with the thumb.
If you have correctly pruned the roses they will not require heavy applications of fertiliser in the spring.
Spring flowers on many varieties can be spoilt by too much kindness in the way of stimulants causing them to become oversized and lacking in flower colour.
Excessive use of nitrogenous fertilisers has a tendency to form soft growth much loved by aphids and mildew.
In most cases a small handful of blood and bone, manure or low-nitrogen compost should be ample for the average rose bush. Scatter around the bush about 30cms away from the main stem and rake it in.
I give a light turning over of the soil at this time to discourage weeds and to aerate it especially if the drainage is less than desirable.
While July is the main month to prune most roses, early August pruning may be used to obtain later blooms from some varieties that bloom early.
Cuts will have to be made to growth eyes that have not made much of a move towards growing.
Later pruning will often help to give spring flowers on varieties subject to blind spots.
Give the stems a close inspection for scale insects especially in climbing roses as they seem to be subject to these pests more than other rose varieties.
Trunks on standard roses are a favourite overwintering spot for scale, especially the rough-barked older plants.
Scrub the trunks with a brush before spraying to expose any hidden scale insects protected by the bark.
Spring-flowering ornamental trees announce the imminent arrival of warmer days ahead with Prunus blireiana at its best during this month displaying its beautiful double pink blossoms and stunning purple foliage.
A cross between the Japanese apricot Prunus mume and the purple-leafed plum Prunus cerasifera, this lovely specimen tree grows to about five metres tall and is often planted along driveways and in the urban landscape as a street tree.
Another particularly attractive early spring blossom tree is Prunus pollardii.
This small tree is a chance seedling discovered by Mr J Pollard 155 years ago and is a cross between a peach and an almond and is certainly one of the loveliest of the early bloomers with its showy pink, almond-like flowers and vivid red summer foliage.
To keep these trees in a nice shape, cut back fairly hard as soon as the flowers fall.
August 20: APSTAS NW, St Paul's Church Hall, 15 Thomas Street,
East Devonport, 7.30pm. Guest speaker is Dick Burns on alpine plants of the Cradle Mountain region. Visitors welcome.
August 20: Australian Native Plant Society, Max Fry Hall, Gorge Road, Launceston, 7.30pm. Dr Miguel de Salas speaking on plant hunting and collecting in Tasmania. Visitors welcome.
August 21: Launceston Horticultural Society, Windmill Hill Hall, High Street, Launceston, 8pm. Plant breeder, Bob Reid, is guest speaker.
Daily: Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Burnie. Open 9am to 5pm. Tea room 10am to 4pm.