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Friday, July 20, 2018

I'll Have a Yoshino with a Cherry, Please

Yoshino Cherry Tree Before
When I first visited the owners of this property, I saw this yoshino cherry tree (Prunus × yedoensis) and said, "I want to get my hands on this girl, someday." Yoshino actually is a Japanese name for females meaning respectful.

Well, first things had to come first and after several other projects I finally had my chance the other day.

I loved her branch structure and where she was located when I first saw her, but I told the customer we can make her healthier, happier and a little more attractive than she already was.

I have worked on the surrounding beds and the customer also does a wonderful job of trimming some of the shrubs nearby.

Some of the pruning needed was obvious and then I had to spend the time to figure out what she wanted and needed to do, and then make the proper cuts.

Yoshino Cherry Tree After
There were some awkward, diverted and cross branches, and some congestion, and then I had to prune for the future, but with the mostly spreading and open crown I was able to make those calls fairly easily.

Of course, bringing the canopy up brought a few degrees of separation and makes both the yoshino cherry and the surrounding plant bed stand out.

This wasn't bloom time for her, but below is what another similar yoshino cherry looks like in the spring. Yoshinos are the predominant cherry trees in Washington, D.C.

You may wish to have one on your landscape, but during extended periods of moisture they may become susceptible to shot hole fungus. I started noticing the symptoms about a year after the flood of 2015. I am going to be treating one late fall to early winter this year to see if the fungicide is effective, but it is a foliar application and it may be difficult to treat the entire tree.

Yoshino Cherry Tree The results from the pruning of a japanese magnolia (tulip-like flowers) and a dogwood on the property weren't as pronounced, but needed to be done for other reasons.

We rarely identify our customers or their address, but we do nickname some properties and this is the Sheltie House, because they have two gorgeous (most are) and quite vocal (most are) Shelties.

Now they have an even prettier Shino.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Proof is in the Pruning

I conducted a pruning experiment over the last several months with three different plants.

Roughly around late last October or early November I trimmed a loropetalum, japanese yew and sasanqua. These are plants I have been trimming over the last three years and the periphery of the plants had become very dense and occasionally some of the lateral branches were dying, some to the extent this would leave a gaping hole, awkward and unattractive.

Almost all of us appreciate a well-trimmed and shaped shrub or small tree if perhaps it can or should be, but all that wonderful trimming can result in a dense, almost opaque covering for the interior of the plant that tends to slow or kill interior growth, which the plant naturally wouldn't incur.

After trimming at that time, I worked on reducing the density of the periphery by hand pruning, particularly on the tops and upper sides, so to speak.

I truly wanted to experience what I have studied and learned, but in a more focused fashion.

The sasanqua, because it is an early spring bloomer off of old wood, I actually didn't trim, but pruned in the same fashion entirely one half of the plant running down the vertical axis from the top of the crown to the lower canopy just to see what difference would occur other than the plant being less dense. Very few blooms were lost and she looked great in the spring.

The results I expected based on the physiology of plants and here's the wonderful part - I saw no need to trim these plants, which I'm usually trimming every two weeks beginning sometime in April, until around June 21.

The images you see were taken just a few days ago, roughly a month after the only time I have trimmed them this year. I shot these photos prior to trimming just to show what new growth has occurred above the periphery - very, very little compared to prior years. Most of the new growth is occurring in the interior of the plant now - happier plants.

Last year I would have already needed to trim them eight times by now, compared to two times this year.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

BULLDOG for Sale

And, no this is not the furry, sometimes loving, often drooling one you pet.

This is the one you haul people and stuff around in.

The owner has no further use for it and wants to sell it.

I know nothing more about this redneck golf cart (as it was called) other than what you see here in the photos, but I know there are plenty of uses for this puppy.

To learn more call Donna at 803-261-9201.

Thank you.

FREE Variegated Liriope

A customer of ours has roughly 18 variegated liriope plants available and anyone interested is more than willing to take them, but as a favor to the one offering these plants, please take the cinder blocks they are growing in and either use or dispose of them.

Don't worry about thinking you will be removing installed plants as they are not and the homeowner no longer wants them. They were removed to install a new plant bed.

The address is 5645 Satchelford Road, they are right of the driveway nearest the mail box and have been getting watered.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Beauty, a Year Later

Over a year ago, a customer (prospect at the time) contacted me about having me come out to severely cut her azaleas back to about a foot above ground level.

Although the azaleas were way too tall as foundation plants, I asked her if she would rather not have them pruned and not wait several seasons to enjoy their robust height and width. She agreed and I did so as well as pruned some trees, removed some unwanted plants and pruned a slightly diseased red tip for better air circulation and to get some branches from hugging the ground, which doesn't help either, with the fungus, entomosporium.

Susan contacted me this year to come out and prune her azaleas again; both of us knowing less would be required this time because of the previous years' pruning.

Well, I had recently posted How Not to Hack Azaleas and Other Shrubs and a few days after doing so I was contacted by a garden club to come speak in the future. I was and still am flattered and then, while still at Susan's property, she tells me of her winning Yard of the Month from her garden club. Okay, I was beside myself.

Susan is a remarkable lady and I was so pleased at the joy she obviously was experiencing. 

I also removed a hopeless small cluster of red tips which had no chance (at least, aesthetically), diseased or not. But, I did notice less disease on the red tips I had pruned the previous year and a quite attractive plant. I'm not taking full credit for this one because the entomosporium battle is usually not won without a serious regimen of fungicide(s), and perhaps, still not.

And another thing, if you don't get a chance to prune or trim your early spring bloomers before early summer, after the blooms die or before flower buds begin to set up for next spring, there are still ways to prune, properly, without losing all your blooms next year. In fact, you may end up with larger blooms, a more attractive backdrop and much healthier plants.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Little Blue-gray House Update

Some of you had requested an update on the Little Blue-gray House after reading our other post regarding this property - Beauty (Restoration) is in the Eye of The Beholder (Customer).

After finding the little blue-gray house and completing the last project on this property we were left with this, a partial view of the structure if we looked around the next little jungle we were to tackle.

Other than having a better view of the underside of this house and not knowing what or whom had been eating and/or living under there, we found what appeared to be an old wooden barrel or at least the metal hoops from such and a few pieces of the wood of the barrel.

Other than that it was all plant life, mostly unwanted and plenty of it.

I've been around and pruned many a pittosporum and I've never been so offended by their fragrance, if you will, but taking a chain saw to this gigantic sprawling crab-like monster and removing the roots, wasn't quite so pleasant on the olphactories.

There was the dead dogwood with three co-dominant stems which didn't want to fall because of all the vines which had brought about its demise and had weighed anchor in nearby somewhat healthy trees.

Fortunately, the front porch of the blue-gray house gave us some respite from the scorching sun and the rare and occasional downpour.

Okay, there was no end to the amount of vines which not only had to be removed, but affected the removal of most every plant and the pruning of the few plants which were to remain.

The palmetto tree was the gift, the prize. I pruned its boot jacks (dead fronds) up to the height of new fronds and she looks gorgeous. 

I am so glad we first uncovered the little blue-gray house and then exposed it for whatever it is.

This property is dead-center in one of the best areas of Forest Acres, but this snapshot could easily be from an island in the Lowcountry. Only we know.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Indian Hawthorns - Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Dying Indian Hawthorns
There aren't many attractive dead or dying plants. Some go out slowly and we sometimes save what beauty is left by removing dead stems or branches.

Others waste no time and some of those we can simply r.i.p. (pun intended) out of the ground or cut back, hoping they don't try to make a last go of it and send up suckers and water sprouts.

Well, indian hawthorns, many, suffer from entomosporium (leaf spot), a systemic fungus.

Red Tips (photinia x fraseri) are also susceptible to entomosporium and it appears no cultivar of this plant is resistant to it while there are some cultivars of indian hawthorn which are. Unfortunately, both of these plants tend to be planted in clusters (hawthorns) or are used to create hedges (red tips) and seemed to be rarely pruned by the owner.

Neither one of these situations is good for a plant which can easily spread its disease through contact, water transfer or wind. And, the poor air circulation resulting from the tight placement of and poor pruning doesn't help either.

You'll notice whether your indian hawthorn or red tip is infected, either by close inspection or it will become more than obvious when you notice severe leaf drop for either of these evergreens.

There are some things you can do which may keep these girls and guys alive, but it involves some serious pruning, extra care and application of perhaps more than one fungicide.

By no means is this the first time we've done this, but we removed nine (Hard to distinguish. Isn't it?) indian hawthorns from the foundation of the home above and the result you can see below.

Nothing and a bed of pine straw looks much better than death row. We can always plant in these beds later as we removed a rightfully strong majority of the root system.

Yes, when a small globular shaped dead indian hawthorn is extricated from its burial plot, which was once its healthy home, and a gust of wind sends it rolling across one's lawn, it does look like a tumbling tumble weed.

But, it's not tumbling across the prairie to propagate new plants by dislodging seeds. It's done, and quite ugly.


See them tumbling down
Pledging their love to the ground!
Lonely, but free, I'll be found
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds
Cares of the past are behind
Nowhere to go, but I'll find
Just where the trail will wind
Drifting along with the tumblin' tumbleweeds
I know when night has gone
That a new world's born at dawn!
I'll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds
I know when night has gone
That a new world's born at dawn!
I'll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds