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Tidewater Gardening

I mentioned last month that needle evergreens like arborvitae, junipers, and yews can be pruned as soon as their growth is complete. You can cut back on the new growth, allowing only a few inches of the new growth to remain. This pruning will slow the growth rate of the plant and make the foliage thicker. Unless you are growing a formal hedge, don’t shear the plants into balls, triangles or squares. Not only does this result in weird, unnatural-looking plants in the landscape, it causes the tips of the needles to turn brown and gives the plant a sickly appearance. Every time I see a sheared, odd-shaped evergreen in the home landscape, I think that a bunch of elves or little gnomes live in the house. For spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs and rhododendrons, remove the spent flower heads to prevent them from producing seed. The same principle applies to spring-flowering roses. Remove the rose hips as soon as the flowers have died. You want the plant’s energy to go back into the plant to produce flower buds and growth for next year. Happy Gardening!

those pesky weeds. The best practice is not to let the weed flowers go to seed. However, if you missed this window and the weeds have matured and gone to seed, weed the garden early in the morning, when moisture is present, to prevent the seed heads from shattering and dropping seed in the garden. Hold as much of the seed head in your hand as possible, and do not shake off excess soil, as this may scatter the seed. The soil is warm enough that you can apply a light mulch, compost or straw on the ground around the plants to prevent the weed seeds from germinating. Late spring and early summer is an important time for pruning many kinds of woody ornamental plants. Many have completed their growth for the spring and need to be shaped, headed back or thinned to control their size.

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. 92

Profile for Tidewater Times

June 2017 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times June 2017

June 2017 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times June 2017