GARDEN FOR OCTOBER 29, 2005
BY GEORGE EDGAR
Butterfly bush (Buddlia
davidii) may be pruned this fall after it goes dormant, or I like to
wait and see what winter kills and prune next spring. Then, remove only
the dead wood. My Star Magnolia (Magnoliaceae
stellata) bush already has big flower buds, so I only prune it after
blooming in the spring. Magnolia trees and shrubs need very little
pruning. The biggest
problem with a Magnolia is protecting those flower buds over the cold
tea, grandiflora, Old English (David Austin), and floribunda roses bloom
on new wood so they can be pruned after a couple hard freezes
(temperatures in the lower 20’s or colder). I usually only top my
roses so they do not blow in wind. I then store my large tomato cages
over the top and put wood chips around them for the winter. I do not do
this until after Thanksgiving and the ground is frozen. The purpose of
the mulch is not to keep the ground warm but to keep the ground
cold and avoid the freezing and thawing. More trees, shrubs, and plants
are winter killed by the freezing and thawing that takes place in the
winter, than by the cold temperature. DO
NOT prune most climbing roses as they bloom on old wood. Pruning now
will remove flowers for next year.
Next spring prune only those canes that were winter killed.
DO NOT prune most
spring blooming shrubs in the fall, such as lilac, forsythia, bridal
wreath spirea, and flowering almond. If you prune the shrubs now you
will be cutting off the flowers for next year. Prune these spring
blooming shrubs right after they bloom by taking out 1/4th to
1/3rd of the biggest, oldest canes all the way to the ground.
This will reduce the height of the plant and open it up. This method
also helps to control insect damage and especially lilac borers as they
like the old, weak canes. Thus by pruning you help get rid of the
borers. Also by pruning you
have a new bush every 3 to 4 years and more flowering throughout the
Deciduous trees (trees that
lose their leaves in the fall) can be pruned after they have lost all
their leaves and have gone dormant. But the best time to prune them and
fruit trees is in late February or early March. Conifers can be pruned,
if needed, after you are sure they have gone dormant, which will be
after a couple hard freezes (temps in the low 20’s). Pruned in
mid-December the branches of conifers are good for Christmas
arrangements and wreaths.
DO NOT prune fruit
trees, most deciduous trees, and most conifers (evergreen) trees and
shrubs between the first week in August and the time they go dormant
which is about Thanksgiving. Pruning encourages new growth and this new
growth usually does not mature and winter kills.
DO NOT APPLY ANY DRESSING SUCH AS TAR, PAINT, OR WOUND DRESSING
TO THE CUT SURFACE. Research
has found that trees do better when left to heal naturally. Drying out
from the cold winds when the ground is frozen is also a problem for
conifer trees and shrubs that have already set their flower buds.
Spraying an anti-desiccant or an anti-transpirant like “Wilt Pruf”
really helps. Do this about Christmas time on a day when the temps are
above 40 degrees F.
TO PUT YOUR AMARYLLIS TO BED
In the fall I
let the first light frost hit my amaryllis plants to get them ready for
a minimum 6 to 8 week nap.
I then put the pots on their side on the patio to dry out. After
the leaves have died and gone brown, I cut off the foliage and put the
pots in a cool place for the winter. Store in a location that does not
get above 55-60 degrees F. Also, do not store in an unheated garage or
any location where the bulbs might freeze.
If the plant
has been out in the soil for the summer, dig it with roots intact, let
the plant dry out and the leaves turn brown. Take the old leaves off and
put the bulb in a container for its mandatory rest of at least 6 to 8
weeks. The container can be a pot, or a box filled with peat moss,
vermiculite, sand, or sawdust. You can separate the bulbs at this time
or wait until you take them out of storage.
If you want to
force a bloom for late January or February, bring the plant out of
storage after it has had its mandatory 6 to 8 week nap. When you put it into a pot,
select one that is only 1 or 2 inches larger than the bulb, thoroughly
soak the soil, and place in a warm sunny location. Add just enough water
occasionally to dampen the soil. If the plant is already in a pot and
you see a green shoot coming up, take it out of storage, thoroughly soak
the soil, and as above, place in a sunny location and water only
occasionally. It will take 6 to 8 weeks before you get a bloom.
Do not fertilize amaryllis until the flower is done blooming.
I have other
plants that are blooming in the house during and after Christmas so most
of my amaryllis are kept sleeping until spring, and then planted in the
garden with the other lilies. If you do this they will bloom along with
the other lilies in early summer. When planting outside, you can either
leave them in the pot or plant the bulb directly in the ground.
Amaryllis are heavy feeders so fertilize with a water soluble
fertilizer every two to three weeks during the summer.
This builds up the energy in the bulb so you will have a large
flower next year.
information about amaryllis, pruning, or any horticulture question,
contact your local County Cooperative Extension Educator for information
or check the internet at “http://ianrhome.unl.edu/search”. In the
top box scroll down to Extension publications. In the bottom box type in
the name of the plant, shrub, flower, or tree, you want to grow, or the
name of the insect, or disease you want to treat or control. A list of
publications will appear. Read the ones of interest and download to the
computer or print what you want to file and save. Also this site is
excellent for securing information about what to plant where so it does
not become a pest.
University Extension information may be reached at www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews.
In the search box type in the name of the plant, shrub, flower, tree,
insect, or disease you want information about or you want to treat or
control. A list of short, practical articles will appear. Read the ones
of interest and print what you want to file and save.