Hello all... I'm a very novice gardener and plant keeper. First, our property came with a big rose thicket (maybe 10' diameter patch). It seems to produce yellow flowers once a year. The tall sticks are maybe 4' tall, but most are 2' or so. It of course is spreading, and I don't much care, however the plants in the middle don't seem to be doing as well. There is a large anthill in the middle, along with a gooseberry and a gopher hole. I had an Easter Egger that was stealing her nests in there too. The thicket has certainly gotten uglier since we've had this place (three years) and the place was neglected for several years before we bought it. I need tips or ideas on what to do with this rose thicket. Do I prune it or mow it down? If so, when? I've done some Google searches, but am still looking for ideas. Second, I'm looking into buying some of those fast growing hybrid poplars. I know they are not a miracle tree, and certainly come with some issues. We have three acres, with alkaline soil. I'd like something to provide somewhat fast shade for my small goat pasture and chicken coop (already have some hops that will shade the run eventually) and encourage deer to hang out on my side of the fence, as well as help with the wind. Anybody have any experience with these trees from Burgess (or one of the other companies with the exact same catalog from Illinois). Anybody order from Burgess with success? I see several negative reviews on other sites, with a few good reviews. The negative reviews usually seem to complain about things that I'm not sure are a problem (eg. long wait for plants, when the catalog says they wait for the right weather to ship). Thanks for any advice!