Category Archives: Prunning

The Secret to Perfect Poinsettias

What Makes Our Poinsettias Special?

Giordano’s Gift and Garden sells “Ecke” poinsettias. These are specially hybridized by our growers to be adaptable to winter home environments.

In other words, most homes have low light in the wintertime, and also low humidity. Our poinsettias are adaptable to low light, and tolerant of low humidity. On the other hand, most “supermarket” poinsettias have been grown in greenhouses that have high humidity, and tend to suffer when you get them home.

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It’s Time to Divide! (Day Lilies, That is)

Although day lilies are tough enough to be divided in the summer months, why disrupt your garden while they are blooming? Waiting until  after the flowers are gone makes more sense. If your day lilies were under-performing this year, or seem very crowded, dividing these perennials will entice them to produce more flowers.

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Preventing Zika at Your Backyard Barbecue

Zika is the latest virus to garner world wide headlines, and health authorities have predicted that Zika will spread throughout the Americas. Like other debilitating viruses (West Nile, malaria, and dengue fever), Zika is transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitoes.

Aedes_Albopictus

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How and Why to Divide Perennials

Why Divide Perennials?

There are three primary reasons for dividing perennials: to control the size of the plants; to help rejuvenate your plants; and to increase the number of plants you have. This is an inexpensive way to gain additional plants for your garden (or to share with others).

When Should You Divide Perennials?

This depends on whether your plants bloom in the spring or the fall. It is best to divide your fall-blooming plants in the spring, and vice-versa for those that bloom in the spring.

If you do this in the spring, it should be done as soon as the growing tips emerge in early spring. You need to allow enough time for the roots to develop before the hot weather of summer arrives.

Most perennials should be divided every three to five years. Some such as chrysanthemums and asters may need to be done every one to two years or they will crowd themselves into non- flowering clumps of leaves and roots.  Unless you want to increase your numbers, bleeding hearts and peonies don’t need dividing at all.

Don’t wait until a plant has become decrepit or monstrous to divide it. The rule of thumb is when it looks its best, divide it at the end of that year. Watch for the early signs of trouble: when the center of the plant has smaller leaves, fewer flowers, and weaker blooming stalks than the outer edges like this Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, or when the plant runs out of growing room on its edges and has nowhere to go but into neighboring plants.

perennial div.

How to Divide Perennials

Use a sharp pointed trowel or shovel (or spading fork) to dig down deep on all four sides of the plant, about 4 to 6 inches away from the plant. Pry underneath  with your tool and lift the whole clump to be divided.

Depending on the the root system, there are different ways to separate:

  • Spreading root system-This is most common for such plants as asters, lamb’s ear, and cornflowers. They can usually be pulled apart by hand, or cut with a knife, but may need more forceful separation using digging forks to pry the roots apart.
  • Clumping root system-This group includes astilbes, hostas, daylillies, and ornamental grasses. It is often necessary to cut through the fleshy crowns with a heavy sharp knife. Keep at least one or more developing eye or bud with each division. If you want bigger plants, keep several eyes.
  • Rhizomes- These are stems that grow horizontally near the surface. Bearded irises are the most common with this type of system. Divide these any time from a month after flowering until the fall.
  • Tuberous Roots-Dahlias are this type of perennial.  The tubers should be cut apart with a knife. Every piece must have a piece of the original stem and a growth bud attached. Replant after dividing. Never allow the divisions to dry out.

For more information about specific plants and when and how to divide, go to https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/hgic1150.htm

 

PROPER TIMING FOR PRUNING FLOWERING PLANTS

Suggested Pruning Time for Common Flowering Trees, Shrubs, & Vines

Spring-Flowering Plants:

Plants that bloom in early spring usually produce their flower buds the year before. The buds over-winter on the previous year’s growth and open in spring.
Prune after flowering:

Alternate-leaf Butterfly-bush (Buddleia alternifolia)
Azalea (Rhododendron species)
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’)
Bridalwreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia)
Clematis (Clematis species)
Climbing roses
Crabapple (Malus species)
Deutzia (Deutzia species)
Dogwood (Cornus species)
Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum)
Flowering Almond (Prunus species)
Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles species)
Forsythia (Forsythia species)
Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepsis umbellata)
Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)
Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)
Mockorange (Philadelphus species)
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
Pyracantha (Pyracantha species)
Redbud (Cercis species)
Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana)
Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Thunberg Spirea (Spiraea thunbergii)
Weigela (Weigela florida)
White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)
Wisteria (Wisteria species)
Witchhazel (Hamamelis species)

Prune Summer Flowering Shrubs In Late Winter or Early Spring.
Many summer flowering shrubs bloom on the current year’s growth.  Pruning them back in later winter encourages them to produce lots of new growth that summer and will result in more flowers.  Don’t be afraid to cut fast growing plants, such as buddleia or caryopteris, down to as little as 10-12” tall.  The exception to this rule is Hydrangeas.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa species)
Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii)
Camellia (Camellia species)
Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus)
American Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum)
Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species)
Floribunda roses
Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Grandiflora roses
Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria species)
Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Nandina (Nandina domestica)
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
Anthony Waterer Spirea (Spiraea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’)
Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)

 

Repairing Winter Damage In Your Garden

Winter Garden Damage – What Now?

Winter can offer obstacles for our gardens.  Cold, snow, ice, freeze/thaw cycles, wind, salt from treating roads and sidewalks are a few that spring to mind. Most of those obstacles can be readily overcome, but some are more challenging.

Cold, Snow, Freeze/Thaw Cycles – In Other Words, Normal Winter For Cold Winter Climates

These issues can by and large be mitigated by choosing plants that are cold hardy for our area and that are suited to the spot in your garden where they are being planted.

What does suited to the location mean?  It means if you have a place where the wind tends to come whistling through the garden, don’t plant something that is susceptible to wind damage.  Put that plant in a spot where it is protected from wind.  If a plant doesn’t like wet feet, don’t plant it in the low, wet spot in your garden.  Putting each plant in a spot where it can thrive leads to good plant health. And healthy plants are much better able to survive adverse winter conditions than unhealthy plants

Unusually Cold Temperatures

After the Cold has Passed

Annuals – if the foliage is brown and or mushy, remove it and compost or discard it.  Plan on replacing your plants in spring.

Herbaceous Perennials –Remove brown and mushy foliage.  However, do NOT assume that the plants are dead.  Even if you are used to the plants remaining green throughput the winter, they may not be dead.  Many perennials are “root hardy” which means that although the foliage and stems are dead, the plant will regrow from the root system.   In spring, be lazy and wait a bit.  Give the “dead” plants time to regrow from the roots before replacing them with new plant material.

Shrubs – Do nothing.  This is another great time to be a lazy gardener.  Resist the temptation to help and just wait for spring. See what new growth emerges and prune after you can see the true damage to your plants.  If there are obviously broken branches, you can remove them, but other than that – hands off. Pruning now could encourage new growth too early, which can harm the plant. Branches that may appear to be dead, may not be. Once spring gets here and the shrub leafs out with new growth, you will then know for sure which parts of the shrub are dead and can be safely removed.

Ice

Ice is pretty much the cruelest thing that can happen to your garden in winter.  The sheer weight can be devastating.  You are going to want to try and rush out and help your plants.  Resist that urge.  Do NOT try to help.  Take a deep breath and procrastinate. Do not knock ice off branches; channel your grade school days and keep your hands to yourself.  Allow the ice to naturally melt.  The branches beneath the ice will be brittle, trying to remove the ice is most likely going to lead to more damage to the plant, not help.

The rest can be pruned to shape, if needed or if you want to.  This may mean sacrificing blooms on spring blooming shrubs.  If you don’t mind a somewhat bedraggled shrub in your landscape, wait until after the spring blooming shrubs flower and then prune to shape.

Trees:  Remove downed branches or trees, if you can safely do so, or hire someone with experience to take care of this task.  For broken branches and additional pruning, it is best to hire a certified arborist to assess and service the plants.  Trees are a long term investment and much harm can be done by accident.  Let the professionals handle it.

Salt Damage

You may already recognize that salt really isn’t all that great for plants.  Salt applied by road crews or on sidewalks by homeowners can end up in nearby garden beds.  There are a couple of ways to deal with this issue.

If you can reasonably assume that salt will be applied regularly, consider choosing plants that can withstand a bit of salt (yes, we have circled back around to Right Plant, Right Place).   Internet searches will yield good results for plants lists.

If salt is unlikely to be an issue, then you may prefer not to limit your plant selection.  The best way to deal with an unusual application of salt to plants is water.  Once the temps warm up and snow cover melts, lightly spray off plants to wash off any salt that might be on foliage.  Then in early spring, water the affected areas heavily to wash the salts out of the main root zone of the plants.  You want to soak at least 6 inches of soil.  This will allow the majority of roots to reside in soil where the salt has been flushed out.

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Lacecaps Like Light (and a Little Shade)

What You Should Know About Lacecap Hydrangeas

Lacecap hydrangeas are a more delicate version of their mophead relatives, and have the same growing requirements. See below for pruning hints.

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Pruning Hydrangea

One of the questions that I’m most often asked is, “When is the proper time to prune hydrangea?” So I figured, why not write about it and get all my tips up on the website? So… Here goes! Hydrangea, while not native to North America are perhaps one of our favorite shrubs to cultivate. You will find them from coast to coast in the US and in a stunning variety of colors, leaf shapes and shrub types. As you might imagine, due to the endless variety, choosing the right time to prune your Hydrangea actually depends on the type of hydrangea you have…
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