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Every year about this time, gardeners stand in their yards with pruners in hand ready to cut, whack, saw, and do the meatball. But wait. Not all woody plants should be pruned the same way or at the same time. Other gardeners are intimidated with pruning, get out the hedge sheers or prefer to do nothing. No matter which you are, these helpful tips will boost your confidence and arm you with the know-how to make the right cuts.
* Some shrubs can be intimidating even for experienced gardeners. Elderberry, Flowering Quince, Forsythia, Mock Orange, and Weigela can be pruned using three different techniques. One is known as rejuvenation which involves cutting all the branches back hard to about 6 inches from the ground. This stimulates an explosion of new growth and is best used when shrubs have grown out of control. If this is too drastic for you, break it into a three-year plan. Every year for three years, remove one-third of the oldest canes to the ground level. By year three, you'll have a completely new, nicely-shaped, healthy shrub. The other two methods for the unprunables are described here.
Other Tips & Resources
Fruit Tree Care in Spring
We get lots of questions every spring about fruit trees, including when and how to prune. The following should help answer your questions:
Tracy Hankwitz, horticulturist and General Manager at Burlington Garden Center.
It's time to clean up the yard and garden. Here are our favorite fall essentials that make work easier:
Gloves - Hestra makes some of the best gloves for working with wet leaves, cleaning up the garden, and digging in the soil.
The World's Greatest Rake is worth investing in! The 20 tines are flexible (aka they won't get all wonky) and it's moderate size makes it easy to handle.
Fertilome's Tree & Shrub Systemic Insect Drench - apply now to protect your woody plants from insects for up to 12 months. If you had Japanese beetles eating birch trees, roses, and other ornamentals, this product is the solution! It's easy to apply: mix in a watering can and pour at the base of the plant. No spraying!
Collapsible Container - everyone needs this handy helper - a pop-up tidy for leaves and garden debris. Available in two sizes.