Friday, January 11, 2013

Red Boxwood. Not exactly my definition of healthy. Some would say it is normal. I'm not sure about that, but I don't know for sure.

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 Precision Pruning of Ga., Inc. is now pruning Crape Myrtles for the Early Winter Season, and we have started pruning Boxwood shrubs as well.  With the warmth we're having now in January, I suspect an early flush of growth on Boxwood and Crape Myrtles.  Pruning later isn't a problem, but to enjoy the pretty new growth we recommend pruning soon.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Camellias ... the glory of Winter

Who would ever imagine a camellia as majestic as this old sasanqua grown to espoliar on the old brick wall which gives a beautiful view from the side of this old mansion in Buckhead. A wonderful part of Atlanta where Precision Pruning is located.

I love the Camellias in Atlanta. The bloom season begins in November or December with the Sasanqua varieties. They are my favorite since not much else blooms at that time of the year. The sun doesn't bother them, can be grown in shade as well. Espolier on a wall or trellis. Some are short and wide, others are tall and majestic. Reds, pinks, whites are the main colors.

The Japonicas are a lot of fun as the mid and late winter move toward spring time. Variety after variety produce shows of blooms with many different types of flowers, from single 'rose' like blooms to 'double' varieties with so much color they
almost glow in the dark.

Prune carefully after they have finished flowering. Not because of damaging the plant, but because blooms will set on new growth off of old wood. The camellia can handle rejuvenation if needed, but I would prefer to see a camellia planted in a site where it has the freedom to grow as it was meant to grow depending on the variety.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Flowers arrive early in Atlanta

Wow, the color in Atlanta. Spring flowers are as early as I can remember, and the scents are incredible. I started this post on the 15, but the pictures and details are relevant to 25 March 2009.

This year the freezing temperatures earlier in the year may have set the tone for a wonderful spring season. In some areas frost damage caused a lot of damage to plants, stems, and leaves. In other areas, you would never know their had been a freeze at all.

The Cherry's are spectacular now. Yoshino, my favorite tree, has burst out with huge blooms in Atlanta this year. The Weeping Variety of Cherry's are in full bloom as well.

I noticed the Clematis Armandii have started, and some of the Viburnums are beginning to put on a show. Oh, the smell will be great in a few days. Lets pray for any freezing temps heading our way to pass us by.

I have seen Cross Vine, and Azaleas starting to open up. Soon the Rhododendrum and Mountain Laurel will start to open if the temps stay warm. The Jasmine carolina has been in bloom for a week already covering fences, arbors, and pergola's. I love the soft texture of the confederate variety which may start early in April at this rate.

The Bradford Pears are all but finished now, and many trees are pushing out their leaf canopy. As far as pruning in Atlanta in concerned, I would not prune very much on Cherry trees at this time. Some twiggy or smaller crossing limbs can be removed from the interior, but I would wait til autumn to prune more than that due to the borer season moving in now.

The pest are attracted to the strong scented sap of Cherry's, and can easily invade a weakened tree due to drought stress from last year. Technically, I have heard we are still in a drought, so trees may feel that stress more than we know. Many other trees are likely to attract borer infestation, such as Dogwood, Apples, Plum, and other fruit trees, as well as the other flowering fruit trees.

Crape Myrtles have been hit hard by the Ambrosia beetle in past years. This pest can attack many trees and woody shrubs, but tends to show their love for Crape Myrtle in the landscape more noticeably. As the weather warms more, and the beetle digs into a stressed tree, they must push the sawdust out their entrance hole. As the dust is compressed inside the tree, and it starts to push out, it will resemble tooth picks. Some will curl a little, and break off from the slightest touch or rain fall. Once the beetle is in the tree the battle is lost.

In the case of Crape Myrtles, you can simply cut the tree down, and new sucker growth already present by the time you recognized the tree declining, will make nice replacement trunks for your Crape Myrtle to start over. If the beetles invade your Cherry, the tree may lose the battle completely, but not in all cases. Every once in a while I will find an old Cherry tree, with open holes and rotting wood, yet the tree continues on strong and full of energy. Poor drainage kills the trees in Atlanta faster than borers in many cases. So don't lose hope if borers invade your property. Just wait til autumn to do more of the larger limb removal on the flowering and fruit trees.

Enjoy the scents of the spring in Atlanta. As the Viburnums start their part of the show, you will notice a wonderful fragrance if your anywhere close to them. We have a wide variety of plants in bloom now. I recommend visiting you nursery center, and writing down the names of those varieties you would like to buy later. Seeing the plant in bloom is always better than the tags hanging from a limb on the plant material in nurseries.

The Anise floridia is another wonderful plant for interesting flowers. The reddish color is hard to beat at this time of the year when there are very few red plants at all in the garden.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Early Spring has Sprung in Atlanta

The boxwood flush is loved in March by gardeners around the world. This year the new growth seems to be starting later than most years. Probably due to our numerous hard freezes. Once the flush begins, our gardens and trees turn Atlanta into a green wonderland. Week after week, plants begin to bloom or produce growth giving us here layers of color to enjoy. This year the spring feels early, but in reality its more like the 1990's when we had colder winters, and a hard freeze in the last week of March just about the time the Jap Magnolias started to bloom. This winter reminded me of the severity of damaging cold weather we had a decade ago. I think we are all ready for spring to arrive, so lets hope and pray for late winter and the early spring to pass by without any late freezes which cause all kinds of damage.

As the first decade of the 2000's comes to an end, lets look back and remember the mild winters, and less hot summers we had a few years ago. At least 2002 through 2006 were much easier to cope with than this past summer. The draught and heat beat the fire out of our soil causing much moisture loss and damage to old Oaks and most landscapes. Hopefully we will have more rain this spring and summer.
Boxwood are starting to grow now, and many other plants have blooms and new flushes of green foliage. Pruning continues, but in some areas we will start to cut less. Such as boxwood since most love the soft new growth, and hate to cut it all off since they only grow a couple inches for the entire year. Deadwood can be cleaned at anytime.

Ligustrum, Holly, Osmanthus, Laurels, and bulbs such as Peony, Crocas, Daffodils, and Snowdrops have new growth and blooms.

Many trees are starting to bloom as well. The Cherry trees below are the 'Okame' variety. The first Cherry to burst out in Atlanta. For a couple weeks now, the Cherry trees have been in bloom, and the Yoshino variety started this past week.

For a couple weeks the 'Okame' variety of Cherry trees have been in bloom, and now the 'Yoshino' variety has begun. This tree is my all time favorite blooming tree. I don't advise much pruning on Cherry trees in the spring due to borers which are attracted to the strong sap which runs heavily in late winter and spring. Wait til Autumn for the sap will be dropping and the insects have moved on for the best time to prune your Cherry Trees.

Redbud trees are also beginning to flower in Atlanta. If the temperatures continue to warm up without too many cold nights the Dogwood trees will be blooming soon as well.

Bradford Pear trees have been a tree loved and hated in the South for several decades now. Admired for the pretty white show of color, and hated for the breakage of limbs after 12-15 years. Rarely are these trees pruned properly, so limbs splitting off during heavy wind, rain, snow, and ice are a likely problem as this tree can hardly hold its on weight due to weak wood and a poor crotching structure. I'll show some details of these problems in a later post coming soon. The white blooms will not last long as the new leaves push out and the flower petals cover the ground like snow.

Spirea Dwarf have started to grow. Let them bloom and deadhead as the spring flowers finish up. Don't wait long after the blooms fade, or the deadheading will not produce a good reflush of flowers.

Hyrdrangeas, both oakleaf and macrophylla, have new sprouts starting now.

Clean out the deadwood and take a deep cut as low as possible on an old branch to stimulate more rejuvenating growth from the base of the Hydrangea. Some plants have been damaged by the repeated hard freezes we had in the Atlanta area this winter. Hopefully blooms will prevail this summer. Blackened buds may not bloom on damaged stems and can be removed later this spring. New growth from the base of Macrophylla hydrangae will not bloom this summer, but should bloom in the summer of 2010. Over all cutting back the plant now will also cause bloom loss, so leave most stems untouched until June. The pictures below are an example of what you should not do now... the landscaper who pruned this hydrangea did so 2 months to early which creates new growth too early in the winter. Freezing temperatures in the late winter can cause much damage to the tender new growth.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Late Winter and Early Spring Collide

Late Winter and Early Spring in Atlanta pose fun and adventure in the garden as well as nature itself. As long as I can remember we have a roller coaster of temperatures, and one can never predict what the next week will bring. We have a rule of thumb for gardeners in Atlanta, ie, never put out your summer flowers and crops before April 15th. 2 years ago was a perfect example of why this rule is important to follow. After a couple nights in the low 20's, most new growth was burned or damaged, leaving plants with little possibility for fruit or flowers.

This past week, we had snow, and this week the snowdrops are in bloom. Its always an adventure in the gardens of Atlanta.

This is a good time prune, but also a good time to fertilize your winter annual pansy and viola's. Both will grow fast over the next few weeks til they become to hot, and fall over in exhaustion.

Many winter flowers are out in full glory now, such as the Helleborus 'lenten rose'. I love this flower for the early blooms. Just cut away the old growth now to allow more energy for the new growth to become full and vibrant.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Boxwood Healthy Plant Recipe - 5March2009

Found an interesting bit of news on keeping boxwood healthy, so I thought I would share it here:

"Eve Danaway is a landscape architect in Atlanta who recommended the following recipe. I’ve found that it keeps boxwoods happy and well-nourished:

Eve’s Recipe

  • 8 cups organic cottonseed meal (6-2-1)
  • 8 cups composted cow manure
  • ½ cup of Epsom salt

Mix thoroughly together in a large tub or pot, depending on what you have on hand.

Feed the boxwoods in early March with organic cottonseed meal, using 1 cup for boxwoods up to 3 feet across and 2 cups for boxwoods measuring 5 feet across. You can adjust the amount based on the size of your boxwood. Six weeks later, sprinkle 2 cups of the Eve’s Recipe mixture around large boxwoods and 1 cup around small boxwoods."

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