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Seasonal Tips: Smart Trees & Shrubs for the Future

by Nellie Neal

Soon as their flowers fade, take care of spring flowering shrubs to keep them growing this season and blooming again next year. New buds begin to form right away so don’t delay. Prune each shrub within a month after flowering to maintain a pleasing shape and remove dead or diseased canes. Cultivate lightly around each bush and fertilize with a flowering shrub formula and add fresh mulch.

Spread them around

Perennials that make the summer and fall garden a grand display sprout early and that’s the time to divide them – soon as they emerge and before their new growth makes them harder to handle. Lift out the babies that come up away from the crown and replant them nearby or in a new bed. If the crown is dying in the middle, clean it out and plant the offsets there. But if the clump is crowded badly, dig it all up and make several divisions before replanting. Cut each new clump so it has a bit of roots, a portion of the crown and some top growth. Rework the soil a bit at replanting time – add some manure or compost to your soil, mix them together and don’t bury the crown.

Trees for the future

Be careful in transplanting trees to insure that yours will be a living legacy for generations to enjoy. Select a healthy tree with good branching – the basic shape doesn’t change much over time. Stay away from scraped or scarred trunks and look for branches spaced well apart; if they rub together now, one will dominate and you’ll never get a spreading canopy of shade. Plant in native soil you’ve slightly amended with compost, drop a tree fertilizer tablet into the hole and just cover it so the roots must grow a bit to reach it. Mulch and keep watered.   

Train them well

Some vines grab onto the trellis with tendrils, but most need your help to direct their growth. Vines train best while their new growth is still supple, so do it now before the canes get woody and hard to bend. Tie the vine onto its support – trellis, arbor or column – don’t wind through or around it. And use jute twine because it won’t scar the whips. 


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