As Fall turns to Winter our trees and shrubs become dormant and we
naturally think “it’s time to prune”. CAUTION! You are entering a DANGER ZONE! Pruning improperly can destroy what nature
has taken years to create.
Cutting dead looking stems off shrubs can eliminate all flowers
the following year. Pruning the wrong
branches from trees can negatively affect their structure, overall beauty and decrease
Ask questions, do a bit of research before grabbing the clippers
or pruning saw.
This is the first of several articles offering “easy to follow”
suggestions on pruning popular shrubs and trees. Following these instructions will reward you
with healthy, blooming trees and shrubs for years to come.
Let’s talk Hydrangeas.
These beautiful shrubs brighten up the shady spots in our yards with multiple blooms on each plant during the spring, summer and into fall. But if pruned incorrectly they will flower very little or not at all.
First step is to identify what type of Hydrangea you have. Most hydrangea varieties bloom on last year’s
growth – stems or branches that grew this year, will bear flowers next
year. This is common for mophead,
lacecap and oakleaf hydrangeas.
– Mopheadsare known for their round balls of either white, pink or blue blooms.
– Lacecapsare a flatter, multi-blooming flower resembling flat caps with frilly edges.
– Oakleaf are recognized by their distinctive leaves shaped like those of an oak tree.
These 3 types should be pruned after blooming (late summer/early
fall). These bloom for several months so
you may need to selectively prune shoots that have already bloomed while
leaving others to finish blooming through the season.
If you prune these types of hydrangeas back to the ground in winter,
you will not have flowers the following year.
Reblooming Varieties: If your hydrangea is one of the newer reblooming varieties (Endless Summer series, Forever & Ever series) they bloom on both current season’s growth as well as previous years branches. These varieties should not be cut to the ground either – this will delay blooms.
How to Prune
1. Start by removing dead or damaged stems first.
2. If the plant is too large, cut the oldest shoots to the ground, giving the younger, smaller shoots more room to grow. This will shorten and thin out the plant.
3. Cut back stems to just above a pair of healthy buds.
4. Varieties that bloom on old wood should be pruned immediately after they flower
Tip: We suggest planting hydrangeas with non-deciduous shrubs in your landscape. This will allow the focus to shift from the hydrangeas to these other shrubs during the winter months.
By pruning at the correct time of year and using the correct
pruning methods your Hydrangeas should reward you with a bounty of colorful
blooms from spring through early fall.
With winter coming up quickly, most succulents will need
some sort of protection against the chilly air, or just brought inside where
temperatures aren’t so low. However, these 5 succulents are ‘cool’ with the
cool air and will be just fine when Jack Frost pays East Texas a visit!
With colorful pink, green, or white modified leaves (that
look like flowers!) and its blue-green foliage, this low-maintenance perennial
is perfect for your beds, borders, or containers. Euphorbia is tough and offers
outstanding heat and drought resistance. Instead of showy flower petals,
euphorbia has modified leaves, called bracts. This plant is a vigorous grower,
reaching 1-3 feet in height and 2 feet in width at maturity, so it can quickly
fill a garden space.
Hens & Chicks
Sempervivum are succulent, rosette forming plants belonging
to the Crassulaceae family. They are commonly known as Hens & Chicks, and
are called this because of the high number of offspring they produce — thus, a
Hen and all her Chicks! The main attraction of these plants is their colorful
rosettes of leaves. The rosettes are most striking in the spring and summer but
even in the winter when growth stops, many varieties remain attractively
‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum
Sedums have become one of the most popular hardy plants in
our area. What’s not to like? They are easy to grow; their thick, succulent
leaves make them drought tolerant and they grow in full sun to light shade.
Tall, upright sedums form clumps of foliage with massive flower heads which
develop in summer and bloom in the fall and then provide food for the birds
during the winter.
Delosperma (Also known as Ice Plant)
Best grown in FULL SUN, Delosperma is an easy-to-grow
herbaceous perennial. It can tolerate dry soil, shallow-rocky soil, and even
full-on droughts. Glossy red-purple flowers bloom continuously from early
summer until fall, and stand out against its fleshy, emerald-green leaves. The
bright flower color paired with the long-blooming season and evergreen foliage
makes ‘Ice Plant’ an easy choice as a groundcover or for a rock garden. A
vigorous grower, Delosperma can reach 3-6 inches in height and a spread of 24
inches (or more!) at maturity.
‘Ogon’ Stonecrop Sedum
A small mass of brilliant, evergreen, solid yellow-gold, succulent foliage flushed with pink provides a bold color accent in rock gardens, along rock walls, or in mixed succulent containers. Makes an excellent pathway filler or ground cover. Does BEST in partial sun, reaching a spread of 8-12 inches at maturity.