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Even though rose bushes are beginning to leaf, MU horticulture specialist Kathi Mecham says it’s too early. An unexpected frost could hurt tender growth.

CARROLLTON — Recent warm weather has it feeling like early May — and has gardeners itching to get in the dirt. Kathi Mecham, Carroll County MU Extension horticulture specialist, says not so fast.

“We’re a little more anxious than they are,” she says of perennial plants and shrubs.

Mecham explains why gardeners should wait to prune rose bushes and other shrubs.

Mecham recommends a heavy dose of mulch in the fall to protect shrubs’ root systems. She also offers this advice for early-spring flowering shrubs.

It’s OK to cut back dead growth on peonies, she says. However, if temperatures get below freezing, provide leaves or mulch for cover.

Garden soil gets “tired,” as plants take away nutrients. MU Extension provides soil testing and advice on how to amend it. She explains the process.

Wondering what plants, shrubs and trees grow best in central and northwest Missouri? Mecham has her favorites.

Horticulture specialist Kathi Mecham can be reached at 660-542-1792.