by K. Marc Teffeau, Ph.D.
Gardening in 2015 Happy New Year to all the avid gardeners out there! If you are like me, you are already anticipating a great gardening season for 2015. January is a slow time in the yard and garden and at times can be somewhat frustrating. All those seed and gardening supply catalogs that you have received in the mail, or e-mail offers, are already working up the desire to get out there and do something. Hopefully you received some nice gardening gifts for Christmas. If you have a new set of hand pruners or a saw, then on the nice sunny, somewhat mild winter days that we do experience in January you can go out and do some tree and shrub pruning. Prune out any dead wood or crossing branches and remember not to use tree paint. Painting pruning cuts with tar, pitch or shellac will inhibit the natural callousing process around the cut. I still do not understand why pruning paint is still sold in garden centers as its use is detri-
Now is the time to start going through all of those seed catalogs. mental in the â€œhealingâ€? process of a pruning cut. Tree branches that cast excess shade over herbaceous flower beds should be removed in winter when they will not damage the bed as they fall. Remember that spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after they flower, not during the winter. You can now prune crepe myrtles, rose of Sharon, hibiscus, butterfly bush and hydrangeas if they need it. Vines that are strangling trees, such as bittersweet, Virginia creep81