What's Up 186: Pruning, and poo-poor deadheads

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Each of us has the edge in our knowledge of our own garden. History tells us how much a plant grows and how much to cut to stay ahead. Above, left: Dwarf white pine, blue spruce and spreading juniper three years ago. Above, right: The same plants today. 

Our deadheading poo-poo'd,
much pruning to do
What's Up summary of this week's news

Janet Macunovich and Steven Nikkila help you grow

Issue #186, July 27, 2012*

  *(Click here if you expected
to find a different issue...)

Green thumbs up and down

This week our nod and "No!" go to: 

Up to telling others what you're doing and why. Maybe they listen, maybe they don't. You can call it teaching or just admit you talk to yourself as you garden -- in every case it will help you grow. We share with you a classic but unexpected example. ThunbElizCritqN6960s.jpg

Down to oiling your plants. They're hot enough as it is. What, you say you don't oil your plants? Maybe you do. Maybe a neighbor does. Find out!

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Tip cuttings

Pruning tops the charts in our email and Forum questions.

To cut boldly

It's what we do and help others do -- from the extreme "Holey moley" cuts to the more modest modifications often reviewed as, "Have you clipped that yet?" This article is a jumping-off point to help you build pruning confidence. Features pines and yews illustrating the basics and will expand with real-time coverage of other landscape standard plants and situations as we complete our summer pruning hit list.

Come cut with us

How to join us to learn with your hands, and why you should not miss the August 8 session.

Timelines for trimming

Lists, dates and examples for determining a best time of year for the plant and the effect you want. Includes a summary of options for out of control plants, from cut-all-at-once to gradual makeovers.

Restoring character to a pinched mugo pine

Certainly you can simply pinch the "candles" on a pine, but if you don't like the dumpling form that develops, here's how to reshape the plant. Reassurance through photos of an 18 month transformation.

Porky pyramidal yews

If your vision was for crisp cones but the plants have not cooperated, here's how to bring them back into focus and then keep them in line. Viewers please be prepared for shocking cuts... and accept our lifesaver links to hold-the-line and gradual reclamation techniques.

Upcoming subjects: On deck to be clipped

Wondering if now is the time to cut your (your plant's name here)? Want to see what we're planning to prune? Here's an illustrated, evolving line-up.

Restriction pruning: Keeping shrubs small

No matter what it is it can be kept small with five steps that settle into a two-step dance. This article lists and illustrates the steps, first with simple diagrams and then with photographs of bringing that all-too-common overgrown yew hedge into line.

Topiary: Yew can be more than a meatball!

It's shaped unnaturally and you object -- not to the artifice but to the shape. How to create your own fanciful form.

Cut n expectations: What to expect after a hard cut

Confidence comes with experience, so take some of ours -- please! Here's what a hard-cut yew or arb will look like during, immediately after your work, and 12 months later.


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