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Category Search Results for:
Trees, Shrubs and Hedges

Question: 405-3410
Our wisteria has not bloomed since we planted four years ago. What can I do to get blooms? Arlene, Ledyard, CT

Mort's Answer:
Wisteria can take up to seven years before blooming. You can speed the process by adding a high middle number fertilizer like 5-10-10. Put a half dozen holes about 2 feet from the trunk that go done a foot. Place the fertilizer in the holes. Cutting the ends will help strengthen the ranches.

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Question: 704-812
My one acre is visited by dogs. I also want to block a view . Is there a plant that can do both, keep out the dogs and block a view to 12 feet? How about holly? Glynn, Eclectic, AL

Mort's Answer:
English holly is the dark green holly that is popular at Christmas. It has dark red berries and very sharp spines on its leaves. American holly is a lot lighter in color but has the same growth pattern. New plants should be trimmed the first few years to keep a wide base. I. aquifolium has many varieties including white margined and gold mottled. Blue Princess has a blue cast. They are many other hybrids that will be hardy and have great color though out the year and grow to 15 feet.

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Question: 784-2812
I have two junipers that are growing above the eaves. One is wider than the other. How can I shape them and can I do it now? Bill, Tulsa, OK

Mort's Answer:
You can select the larges branches at the top and cut them off at the next branch. This will prune it back quite well now. In two months you can also take out the larger branches at the top with lopers. You can shape them to a point at the top now. You can also cut the sides by four to six inches. You will need to trim every few weeks with shears to get them to the same size. Usually the back side is quite sparse due to a lack of sunlight. You can trim lightly in the back.

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Question: 1026-4113
What is the best way to get rid of Japanese Bamboo? Ann, Skoharry, NY

Mort's Answer:
Japanese Bamboo or Mexican Bamboo is not really bamboo. This reed like plant is the most invasive and persistent weed on the east coast. Many target sprays only knock them down. I have found that I need to be as persistent as the weed itself. Cultivating the area every week will discourage them but not kill them. You have to dig out all the roots. If you cut off one little hair root, the plant will come back to haunt you like Dracula from the grave. Before the leaves unfurl, they look like little red asparagus spears. When the spears pop up, is the best time to attack them and dig out all the root. This means loosening all the soil around them and gently pulling out the root. If it does not come easily, then you have probably broken the root and will have to dig deeper into the bowels of the earth to get all the root. Polygonum cuspidatum can be very handsome with its greenish white flowers if you are easily seduced by beauty.

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Question: 996-3313
I need to trim my evergreen trees to below the eaves. Can I cut them now? Bill, Tulsa, OK

Mort's Answer:
You need to do hit in two steps. If you hit them too severely now, you will get a brown flat top.Take out the main long branches now to make it less compact. This will allow for some interior growth. Generally the back sides are brown for lack of chlorophyl. This will continue with or without pruning. In late September you can finish the job by cutting it down to the bottom of the eaves.

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Question: 1070-5213
My Acerola Cherry had fruit two years ago. This year it completely defoliated after two floods except for a few yellow leaves. It is about six feet tall and five years since I planted it. Does the mulch help or hinder it? Tom, Bradenton, FL

Mort's Answer:
There are three or more different possible fungi that could have infected your tree. Black knot, brown-rot and yellow leaf are the most common. You probably have yellow leaf aka shot hole. All three are treatable with Benlate fungicide. Follow directions on the label. You should remove the mulch because it breeds the fungus in the soil from the fallen cherries and leaves. Because you are subject to torrential rains, I would also recommend that you make a circle of 12 holes about five feet from the trunk. These holes can be made with a crowbar or tire iron and be two to three feet deep. Fill the holes with coarse sand.

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Question: 1387-4316
Can I use acorns in my compost pile? Jim, Salem, CT

Mort's Answer:
You will need to use a compost shredder or drive over them in the driveway to grind them to a pulp in order to use them in a timely fashion. Adding grass clippings and ground leaves will also help in your pile. Any vegetive matter from table scraps can also help produce a good heap of compost. Compost can be used when planting next spring and as a soil amendment or as an organic mulch on hybrid roses and in the vegetable garden.

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