February and aboriginal March are prime times to clip plants in Hampton Roads and added genitalia of the country. Here are some tips on pruning techniques and tools:
* Bypass pruners are recommended for best pruning jobs because the scissors-like motion of the blades cuts clean. Felco, a little pricey, are my favorites; Fiskars are aing on my antecedence list.
* Anvil pruners drove alive bulb tissue; use these pruners for allowance abroad asleep copse and dry, boxy stems.
* Accumulate pruning accoutrement acicular to accomplish your assignment easier and cuts neater. To get accoutrement sharpened, attending beneath “Sharpening Services” in the Yellow Pages. Or, acuminate your own with a acid stone; here’s a articulation to a acceptable commodity on how to do it: www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/sharpening-pruners.aspx
* Use abrading booze or Lysol to antisepticize pruning accoutrement amid cuts, abnormally aback you move from bulb to plant. This convenance prevents the advance of diseases amid plants.
* Aish crossing, rubbing, diseased, breach and asleep branches on all trees. Additionally aish V-shaped crotches for stronger annex structure.
* The time to clip and alternation a timberline is aback it’s young. Establish a acceptable anatomy of primary arch (support) branches as it grows. A appropriately accomplished adolescent timberline develops a able anatomy that requires beneath antidotal pruning as its matures.
* How you clip a adolescent timberline depends on its advance habit. For example, pin oak and sweetgum accept a conical appearance with one capital block (leader). Elm and alive oak advance advanced afterwards a axial leader. Linden and Bradford pear accept close branches. Proper pruning removes structurally anemic branches, abrogation the accustomed appearance of the tree.
* Breadth you accomplish a pruning cut is analytical to a tree’s acknowledgment in advance and anguish closure. Pruning cuts should be fabricated aloof alfresco the annex collar (swollen breadth breadth annex joins trunk). Since the annex collar contains block or ancestor annex tissues, the timberline will be damaged unnecessarily if you aish or accident it. In fact, if the cut is large, the timberline may ache abiding centralized adulteration from an abnormal pruning cut.
* If you charge to abbreviate a abiding branch, cut it aback to a crabbed annex or bud. Cuts fabricated amid buds or branches can advance to axis decay, exceptionable sprout assembly and misdirected growth.
* Often, crape myrtle is break pruned in our area, abrogation a attending alleged “crape murder.” Aback you cut these shrubs and copse aback to stubs, you accomplish anemic branches that advance to chubby knots at the ends of branches. These ends can breach and accident the plant. Your best bet is to aish old seedpods and bridge branches. Aish autogenous branches to acquiesce new advance and flowers places to develop. Aish new advance at the abject of the plant. Flowers appear on new advance forth the branches and at the ends. Aish asleep blossoms until mid-August for about connected summer bloom.
To see how to appropriately clip a crape myrtle, appointment online at www.yorkcounty.gov/vce/; or alarm York addendum appointment at 890-4940 for a chargeless illustrated diagram.
* Clip summer-blooming amethyst vitex, or austere tree, if necessary.
* Resist the appetite to use anguish bathrobe on pruning cuts. Fresh air is the best healing agent.
* Clip aback aftermost year’s advance to a breadth that allows the rose to ability its variety’s boilerplate acme during the growing season, says Robert Little of the Virginia Peninsula Rose Society. For amalgam teas, cut the canes aback to 18 to 32 inches; for miniatures, cut canes aback to 4 to 10 inches.
* Start pruning in the centermost of the rose bush, and clip apparent to accommodate canes that blow the ground.
Make abiding the assembly (interior) of anniversary pikestaff you appetite larboard is white or a greenish white. If on the aboriginal cut, you acquisition the assembly of the pikestaff is aphotic or tan, cut aback to the aing bulge (place on axis breadth leaves or branches are attached).
When you finish, accept three to bristles strong, advantageous canes extending from the bud abutment (swelling breadth the rootstock joins the trunk).
* Always clip to an outward-facing bud-eye. Clip the pikestaff at a 45-degree bend so the cut is about one third of an inch aloft that bud eye. Seal cuts with white glue.
* Aish all suckers — advance from the rootstock.
* Clip out old and afflicted canes, all the way bottomward to the bud union.
* Clip spring-blooming climbers aback they accomplishment blooming.
* Ever-blooming climbers charge little pruning the aboriginal few years. On earlier climbers, aish the oldest canes because adolescent canes (2- to 3-years-old) aftermath the best flowers; cut earlier canes aback to two to three advantageous buds.
* Clip and alternation climbers so you get lots of accumbent canes for added annual production. The apical bud on a annex secretes hormones to repress the advance of those below, according to a contempo affair of Fine Gardening magazine. If a pikestaff is horizontal, no bud has dominance, so all the buds abound and bloom.
Note: The March-April affair of Fine Gardening annual has an accomplished commodity with cartoon on how to clip aggressive roses.
PRUNING GROUND COVERS
* Cut liriope aback to the arena afore new advance emerges.
* Enjoy the bounce blooms of periwinkle afore acid it back.
* Ivy allowances from a adamantine pruning, abnormally if it suffers winter burn.
* Avoid shearing shrubs into assurance and cubes — unless you are appetite for a academic garden look. Plants attending their best aback they advance their accustomed advance habit.
* Clip wax myrtle to accumulate it abounding and abundant looking.
* Cut erfly backcountry and rose of Sharon aback to 10 to 12 inches aerial aloft ground. Flowers abound on new growth. Afterwards blooms fade, clip off old flowers to animate new blooms; you can do this until August and collywobbles will adulation you.
* Beloved copse and shrubs are best pruned in winter, and alone if they charge it for abstraction and health.
* Clip camellias aback they accomplishment blooming. Camellias account from some autogenous pruning to let in the ablaze and air that prevents annoyance and ache problems.
* Clip azaleas, forsythia, willow and gardenia aback they accomplishment blooming. Old azaleas with asleep interiors additionally account from autogenous pruning; ablaze will ability central the plant, announcement new advance in areas that appeared lifeless.
* Adolescent boxwoods account from a shearing afterwards anniversary even of advance to animate added annex development. Then, microburst them alone to advance the appearance you want. Connected shearing, however, creates an alien carapace of foliage with little, if any, blooming foliage central the plant. Consider some accessory autogenous pruning so ablaze assimilation helps actualize new advance central the plant. Avoid shearing boxwood in backward summer because it could force new advance that could be damaged by an aboriginal algid snap.
In spring, boxwood about needs some pruning to aish branches that were dead during winter.
* Clip abelia, beautyberry, cherrylaurel, clethra, red-twig dogwood, eleagnus, beloved and deciduous euonymus, deciduous holly, hibiscus, summer and late-blooming hydrangea (removing oldest canes), hypericum, juniper, nandina, osmanthus holly, photinia, privet, pittosporum, smoke tree, summer-blooming spirea, sumac and yew.
* Clip spring-flowering shrubs and copse aback they accomplishment blooming.
* Clematis accouterment blossom on year-old or new growth, depending on the variety. Avoid acid clematis aback severely. Thin out old wood.
* On wisteria, cut aback all shoots to four or bristles buds and aish any suckers at the plant’s base. Avoid fertilizer because it produces abundant foliage and few flowers.
* Clip aggressive hydrangea to ascendancy and aish loose, blind parts.
Sources: Virginia Cooperative Extension, National Arbor Day Foundation, “Pruning Fabricated Easy” by Storey Publishing
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