There’s really not much to do getting your plants ready for winter. But a few easy steps make the difference between plants merely surviving and actually thriving despite the weather. These tips are especially important for newly planted evergreens, trees and shrubs. Read more [+]
Plant breeders are geeks. But they know that many of us want smaller sized versions of our favorite shrubs and plants that bloom all season. Classic shrubs like lilac, hydrangea, butterfly bush, and weigela have been bred to rebloom and stay smaller. Read more [+]
Butterflies and bees are in trouble. Their numbers are dwindling. The 2013-2014 monarch butterfly migration from Canada and the United States to Mexico was down by as much as 44%. (CNN) A major culprit is the disappearance of one of the monarch’s major food sources, midwestern milkweed. About one third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Read more [+]
We are often asked “When is the best time to prune a hydrangea?” Confusion surrounds this topic because there are so many different types of hydrangeas. But here’s the important difference and easy instructions. Hydrangeas bloom on either old wood (flowers formed during the previous season or last summer) or new wood (flowers formed on stems that come up during the current season). And here’s the low down on how to prune these two different types:
Method One: For plants that bloom on last year’s wood –flowers formed during the previous season.
This is for Mopheads and Oakleaf hydrangea. Mopheads are the popular plants with large ball-shaped pink or blue flowers. Oakleaf hydrangeas have white flowers and large rough leaves shaped like oak leaves that turn reddish in the fall..
- Flowers on these plants are formed on stems during the preceding summer, so if you cut them back in the spring, you’d be removing the flower buds. These plants are best trimmed right after they flower, in mid-late summer.
- This group includes the widely planted mophead ‘Endless Summer’, the newer ‘Let’s Dance’ series, most forced florist hydrangeas and oakleaf varieties like ‘Snowflake’.
Method Two: For plants that bloom on new wood- flowers formed this season on the new growth.
This is for Smooth hydrangeas that have round, usually white flowers and for the Panicle hydrangeas that have conical flowers.
- Flowers on these plants are formed on new stems each spring, so they can be cut to the ground in the fall, winter or early spring
- Smooth hydrangeas include the popular Annabelle hydrangea and the improved Annabelle ‘Incrediball’ and the new pink Annabelle ‘Invincibelle Spirit.’
- The paniculatas with cone- shaped flowers are plants like ‘Limelight’ and ‘Little Lime’, the bi-color ‘Pinky Winky’ and the dwarf hydrangea ‘Bobo’.
Many of the newer hydrangeas bloom on both old and new wood, so pruning isn’t such a big deal.And you really never have to prune your hydrangeas at all. But at some point they might just get too big, too floppy or begin blooming poorly. Pruning improves air circulation and sunlight penetration. Spent flowers and dead branches can be removed anytime of the year. Call us for more help or bring in a branch and flower if you need help identifying your hydrangea.
|Let’s Dance Big Easy
Japanese Maple in Summer
Japanese Maple in February
Late February or early March, is a great time to prune many shrubs and trees. Plants are still dormant, leaves are gone from deciduous plants and it’s easy to see the basic structure of the plant. Pruning is done for several reasons:
- To Thin
By trimming out any diseased, weak or excess growth, you improve the vigor of your plants. Light and air circulation is also enhanced.
- To Reduce
Periodic pruning safely reduces the size of your plants so they don’t outgrow their desired height and interfere with power lines, block windows or collapse during winter storms. Also larger fruit and flowers are produced on healthy pruned plants.
- To Rejuvenate
Severe pruning may be required on older shrubs and trees that have never been trimmed. Cutting dense overgrown forsythia or privet hedges all the way to the ground encourages fresh vigorous plants that bloom better.
Use clean sharp tools and prune on a mild dry day. It’s better to prune lightly and frequently instead of drastically all at once. The goal is to maintain the main stems and branches or the basic structure of the plant.
There are some shrubs, like the popular pink and blue mophead hydrangeas, forsythia and lilac that bloom in spring on old wood or growth from the past summer season. Trimming these plants down in spring would remove their flowers. Butterfly bush, crape myrtle, and spirea all bloom on new wood, or stems that emerge new each spring. So these plants can be pruned hard now to control height and prevent floppiness. Call us if you’re not sure.