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Plantland Home & Garden

Prince George, BC, Canada

Gardening Tips

What you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb

Summer Pruning

Growing Orchids

Don’t put your pruners away yet! There may still be some pruning to do. Many deciduous trees and shrubs are pruned in the spring to encourage new growth and fruit production, as well as to direct growth to areas of the tree or shrub that is uneven or sparse. Pruning out the inner branches will create better air circulation which in turn reduces the chance of fungus and disease. There are a few early flowering shrubs that are pruned after they have finished blooming. Shrubs such as Lilacs, Forsythia, Purple leaf sandcherry, double flowering cherry, etc., form their flowers a year ahead, so if they are pruned in the spring, many of the flowers would be pruned off. These early bloomers should be pruned right after they have finished blooming. Remove the finished flowers and do any other pruning that needs to be done. There may be times that a tree or shrub does not need to be pruned. If it has a full even shape and good air circulation and no dead, damaged, or diseased branches it can be left alone.

Birch, Maple and Walnut trees are never pruned in the spring as their sap is still running. Pruning them in the spring could seriously harm and potentially kill them. Instead, they should be pruned in mid-July when the sap is no longer running. If you’re not sure, prune off one small branch to check if the sap is running, and if its not, you can safely continue to prune. Ornamental trees do not need to pruned yearly.

Some years they may need more pruning than other years. You should always break off root suckers which are those young shoots that sprout from the main trunk of the tree at ground level. Root suckers take away needed nutrients from the main tree and serve no purpose. You want to break them off rather than prune them off as this should help prevent them from coming back again. Root suckers can be removed anytime during the season.

Another group of trees and shrubs that should be pruned in the summer is evergreens such as junipers, spruce and cedar trees. These are pruned to keep them evenly shaped and full looking. The low growing junipers often have more growth on one side than the other, creating an uneven look. Pruning the new growth all around will make the juniper fill out more evenly, as well as fill out in the centre. Shear only the new growth on Cedars and Spruce trees. This is done because they not produce new growth on old wood, so if you were to prune the older wood you will end up with a bare patch.

To keep trees and shrubs healthy and happy, keep up on the fertilizing. For evergreens use an evergreen fertilizer with a higher first number and use a tree and shrub fertilizer for the deciduous trees and shrubs. Continue to fertilize until mid-August which is when you should stop so that the trees and shrubs can prepare for winter.