Summer Pruning / Pinch an Inch

Written by Tom Ogren

Continued from page 1
Most of us gardeners have done some pinching of geraniums, begonias, and especially fuchsias, trying to make them bushier. It works pretty muchrepparttar same with fruit trees, too. The more often you pinch,repparttar 140925 more bud breaks you get andrepparttar 140926 bushier your tree becomes. I have found with very vigorous branches that in a season of growth, I may have to pinch that same branch three or four times, but it seems well worthrepparttar 140927 effort. The end result of all this tip pinching is a shorter, more compact fruit tree…and one that won’t need much pruning in winter. The tree benefits too, since it no longer has to pour all that energy into re-growing all that wood each spring. This same energy can then be converted into producing a larger crop of fruit. There is another pleasant benefit, too, from all this constant snipping and pinching…fewer bugs. Aphids in particular can be a problem on apricots and apple trees, and they almost always take hold first onrepparttar 140928 softest, newest, fastest growing wood. The pinching removes this soft tip,repparttar 140929 part most attractive to insects. The pinching also interruptsrepparttar 140930 natural apical dominance present inrepparttar 140931 terminal end of any fast sprouting branch and encourages branching. Summer pruning, pinching, isn’t recommended for trees that are growing slowly since it will further slow down growth. It is most desirable with trees that naturally have a tendency to get much tall than we want them to be. Where late spring frosts can be a problem (with apricots in particular) summer pruning can result in a tree of a much more manageable size. Some apricot lovers have now discovered that with enough summer pinching you can get a smaller tree, one that is low enough to throw a plastic cover over on those cold spring evenings whenrepparttar 140932 branches are loaded with white blossoms, but a late frost threatens. But, take note: be sure to removerepparttar 140933 frost cover promptly when morning arrives. If a program of summer pinching is undertaken,repparttar 140934 following winter’s dormant pruning needs will normally be minimal. However, once every few years it would still be a good idea to make a limited number of large cuts, cuts that remove considerable wood. This would be done to encourage more vigorous new growth. The reason this would be needed now and then is because most deciduous fruit trees fruit on either first or second season’s wood. Dormant pruning would still be used to remove any dead wood, criss-crossing branches, and to shaperepparttar 140935 tree. If there is a large branch that needs removing,repparttar 140936 time to do that is always inrepparttar 140937 dormant season. One word here about dormant pruning of fruit trees: in mild winter USDA zones 8-10 it is best to do your dormant pruning just after Christmas. In colder winter areas it is safest to delay dormant pruning untilrepparttar 140938 worst ofrepparttar 140939 winter’s cold has passed. Thus in a very cold zone 3, such as in northern Minnesota,repparttar 140940 best time to prune fruit trees would be in March or early in April. But summer pruning, pinching, can be done all summer long. The results will please you andrepparttar 140941 tree both. So get out there, and pinch an inch.

Thomas Leo Ogren isrepparttar 140942 author of five published books, including Allergy-free Gardening (Ten Speed Press), Safe Sex inrepparttar 140943 Garden (Ten Speed Press), and, Whatrepparttar 140944 Experts May NOT Tell You About: Growingrepparttar 140945 Perfect Lawn (Time Warner Books). Visit with Tom at his own website at

Thomas Leo Ogren is the author of five published books, including Allergy-free Gardening (Ten Speed Press), Safe Sex in the Garden (Ten Speed Press), and, What the Experts May NOT Tell You About: Growing the Perfect Lawn (Time Warner Books). Visit with Tom at his own website at

How to Plant a Heather Garden

Written by David and Alissa Dewitt

Continued from page 1

FOUNDATION PLANTINGS - Use heather in a foundation planting to eliminaterepparttar straight lines and formality that is often created with more typical plants. Inrepparttar 140924 Northeast, Taxus, Rhododendron and Juniper are commonly used; heather is a natural companion to these evergreens. Use them to hide bare branches atrepparttar 140925 base of shrubs, to fill voids between larger shrubs, and to bring entire plantings away fromrepparttar 140926 house. A long, curving line is more natural and can be creatively designed withrepparttar 140927 different heights and foliage colors of heather. The evergreen foliage can berepparttar 140928 finishing touch needed to bring a foundation planting together.

PERENNIAL BEDS AND BORDERS - Gardens of perennials often lack visual interest duringrepparttar 140929 winter months whenrepparttar 140930 herbaceous species are dormant, waiting for spring's call of warmer temperatures. Inrepparttar 140931 late summer months when many perennials are waning, many ofrepparttar 140932 Callunas are flowering heaviest. The structure and foliage color of these evergreens can also be used to an advantage. The winter blooming Ericas are natural selections for winter color. Erica carnea and E. x darlyensis start forming buds in early summer, that open as early as November in shades of pink, rose or white. These long lasting flowers are colorful all winter untilrepparttar 140933 first of May when many ofrepparttar 140934 spring bulbs are in full bloom. The soil requirements are a bit different than those of some perennials but you may be able to provide them with a site that has a well drained soil that has not had a lot of fertilizer and manure added.

NATIVE AND WILD GARDENS - Fifteen plants of Calluna vulgaris were originally planted some 80 years ago atrepparttar 140935 edge of a pine barren here on Cape Cod. Overrepparttar 140936 years, seedlings have taken a foothold inrepparttar 140937 sandy native soil and have naturalized . Little care has been given to this area that is now over 80 feet long and 30 feet wide. The natural succession that has occurred has left this area with 3-4 dominant natural cultivars which bloom in August and is spectacular. The same effect can be achieved by planting some ofrepparttar 140938 taller cultivars we offer, spaced about 2' apart . Prune heavilyrepparttar 140939 first 3-4 springs to obtain a broad sweep of thick foliage and heavy flowering.

Happy Gardening!

David and Alissa Dewitt are the owners of Rock Spray Nursery, the largest US grower of the hardy Heath and Heather plants. Visit their informative website at

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