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Tidewater Gardening

branches. Both pine and spruce will respond to tipping, but use more care with the spruces and don’t over prune. On older trees, it is possible to remove or tip side shoots without spoiling the plant`s basic symmetry. Both yews and junipers are also good sources of greenery. The dark green needles of the yew are especially good, and the plants tolerate pruning well. The evergreen magnolia is one of the most handsome of cut greens. Prune these carefully so as not to leave branch stubs on the tree. Even rhododendrons can be pruned now for holiday decorations. Like the magnolia, prune them back to forked branches and leave a clean, smooth cut. Many rhododendrons need pruning anyway to keep them in scale with their setting and to keep them compact, so such pruning can be very beneficial. Avoid removing branches with f lower buds if you are concerned about the number of blooms you’ll get next spring. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

appear in the front yards of homeowners who don’t understand how to prune. Any evergreen can be used for Christmas greenery, but some kinds are better than other. Boxwood, with its dense, fine texture, is especially popular. But many Japanese hollies are a good substitute. All the hollies ~ American, English and Chinese ~ are excellent for use as greenery, and they have the desirable red or orange berries, depending on the species and cultivar. Of the pines, the fine, f lexible bright green needles of the white pine are best. But other pines are also very satisfactory. All the spruces make excellent wreaths, but the Colorado Blue spruce holds its needles better than the Norway. In pruning the larger evergreens like pine and spruce, get your greens by removing unneeded

Marc Teffeau retired as Director of Research and Regulatory Affairs at the American Nursery and Landscape Association in Washington, D.C. He now lives in Georgia with his wife, Linda.


Profile for Tidewater Times

Tidewater Times December 2018  

Tidewater Times December 2018