Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Pruning

What a difference a week makes! Last week I was out pruning and doing some cleanup and this weekend my poor little crocuses are shivering. It was not so cold out to really hurt anything and I think the crocus will be just fine. The daffodils didn’t seem too bothered either. Freezing temperatures can damage the flowers, but if the bulbs haven’t bloomed the cold will just slow down their growth until warmer weather returns.

So, back to the pruning: If you know what you have, the next thing is to determine what you are trying to achieve with the pruning. Some plants just need to be shaped, or have broken or damaged limbs removed. Some shrubs need a “rejuvenation” pruning.

My sand cherries have been rather weak and spindly, with not a lot of leaves on them. I have pruned some off the top last year just to get it below the window, but all that did was force more growth on the top and the lower branches were practically leafless. So last weekend I took it down to about a foot above the ground. I was ruthless. This should result in some vigorous growth from the ground up. Spireas can generally stand a pretty thorough thwacking as well. Some plants you just can’t kill.

I needed to be a bit more judicious with the crabapple. My goal here is to keep it shaped nicely and not let it get too big so that a major pruning is ever necessary. I cut back the sucker growth (crabs really want to be shrub and will send up little stems from their roots) and the water sprouts. These are the little branches coming at a right angle from the main branches. Then I looked for branches crossing each other and removed them. I also cut back branches that were brushing up against the siding of the house and cut back the branches that were getting too tall.

Neighbor Dave has a few issues also. He has a shrub hedge of some type of spirea, Bridalveil I think, that has been beaten down by the snow. I tell him all the time that after it snows he needs to take a broom or rake and gently, from underneath the branches, shake the snow off. The snow is so heavy it has bent the branches down to the ground. This can be self correcting but sometimes not. Also, heavy snow can break branches, especially on evergreens, when the heavy snow sticks to the needles and adds additional weight. 

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