Sunday, August 24, 2014

Garden -- step away from the hedge shears

Death can result from pruning trees and shrubs at the wrong time.
In 2014, all over the DC region, owners of fig trees realized their trees were dead.
Because they pruned in late autumn of 2013.
This would have been dangerous any year, but it was followed by one of the worst winters ever.
And the fig trees died.
My neighbor didn't prune his and it survived and has leafed back out.
Lesson: don't trim in autumn.

In an absolutely horrible incident, a woman was stung to death by hornets when she pruned her azalea in August.
Those of us who are allergic to stings don't prune at any time, but we could prune safely if we did it at the right time.
Shrubs and hedges should only be pruned in January and early February, no later than the end of March.
Not only are all the insects still asleep, but the birds haven't started nesting yet.
So you get a two-fer.
You don't have to worry about death from a sting allergy.
You don't disturb nesting birds.

I have a testimonial on this.  Normally I would trim my privet hedge all summer.
The only reason I had to prune again and again in the summer was, it was the wrong time to prune.
In 2014 I had every intention of pruning in January.
I couldn't.  There was too much snow.
I pruned in March.
I haven't had to prune at all this summer.
I've learned my lesson.  My back hedge is in desperate need of shortening, BUT I will do it in the winter.
Especially as my cricket count suggests a mild winter.

You are ruining your landscaping and forcing yourself to work more than you have to, or paying your yard workers more than you have to, by doing your pruning at the wrong time.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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