Maybe you saw this bizarre, but true, story on the news. Residents of Albuquerque are dealing with swarms of grasshoppers that are so large they actually show up on weather radar, according to ABC News. Fortunately, we don’t have pests or disease of that magnitude here in the Lowcountry, but there are still plenty of problems that can plague your garden or landscaping. Our free customer seminars at The Greenery this month will help you prevent damage to your landscape, and will teach you how to design and plant appropriately to have a beautiful garden and landscape that will thrive against the challenges of nature!
On Wednesday, June 11th, and again on Saturday, June 14th, learn about controlling pests and diseases from Horticulture Professor Bill Leonard. Bill is a member of Lowcountry Master Gardener Association and works with the University of Clemson Extension Office. These FREE seminars are a priceless opportunity for novices and experts alike to get one-on-one advice from a leading expert in the field.
More expert advice is yours free on Wednesday, June 18th when Gary Moews answers your questions about gardening, plants, and garden design. Gary’s “Ask the Expert” seminars are extremely popular. Mark your calendars now and bring your toughest questions to see if you can stump Gary!
Lastly, Wendy Porterfield, The Greenery’s landscape and floral designer will help you craft breathtaking heat-tolerant container gardens that will make you the envy of all your friends and neighbors. Go beyond “thriller, filler, and spiller” design to learn secrets of show-stopping containers that thrive in the hot weather to come!
Come to ALL the free seminars this month at The Greenery, every Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM. You’ll get plenty of expert advice for free. Attendees also get a shopping discount. And speaking of discounts, our annual Summer Clearance is June 21st and 22nd. Save from 10% to 50% throughout the garden center and the Antiques and Collectibles shop.
Many of us work very hard to make our plants as healthy as possible. We do research online, talk to our neighbors, attend gardening seminars, fertilize, spray them with chemicals to prevent insects and disease and the list goes on. However, there is one simple thing many homeowners overlook that can accomplish all this without money from your pocket or chemicals in the environment. What is it???? ……. Proper pruning.
Most people have been trained to believe that “shearing” shrubs and bushes is an appropriate method of pruning. While some plant material like Boxwood, Podocarpus and Dwarf yaupon holly do respond to shearing well, 95% of all shrubs should NOT be sheared. This method of pruning is detrimental in many ways:
1. It requires more frequent pruning to maintain a consistent form. This leads to the removal of many flowering shrubs buds and blooms (ie Azaleas, Camelias, Gardenias, etc.) If you don’t know when these plants set their buds and merely when they bloom, then you are more than likely pruning off potential flowers.
2. It creates a “skeleton” plant. Everyone has seen this. A shrub with about 3 inches of foliage on the outside and absolutely no leaves inside. This creates several problems:
a. reduced foliage equals less photosenthesis (energy production)
b. Less air movement leading to increased moisture within the canopy. This results in more susceptibility to disease and higher insect infestations.
c. increased pruning frequency creates a cycle of a plant always trying to recover and heal itself from the cuts. This expends valuable energy and also makes it more susceptible to disease.
3. Shearing typically is done with gas powered trimmers. This adds to additional noise pollution and carbon emissions. While this may only be a small drop in the bucket, we should all do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. And who likes to listen to loud hedge clippers versus and completely silent hand clipper.
The pruning technique we utilize in Sun City is referred to as “Heading Back”. It is a pruning process well established in the green industry. So now you are asking yourself…. “Why don’t most landscapers use it then?”. Because it takes time to train staff, more time to perform the work and creates more debris. All these things cost a landscape company money. So the next time you go to prune your shrubs, ask yourself…. “am I doing this because everyone else does it, or am I doing it for the health and performance of my plant?