Frequently asked questions regarding plants, trees, and gardening.
When is the best time to prune trees and shrubs?Every season has an appropriate way to prune all the plants. If you need some work done, contact a certified arborist or other horticultural professional for recommendations.
A few General rules:
Prune evergreen trees (Pines, spruces, Cypresses) and oak trees in winter.
Prune maple and other shade trees in late summer.
Prune flowering shrubs right after they have finished blooming.
Prune perennials in late summer and once again in the fall. Prune ornamental grasses either in the fall or early spring.
Prune bulbs when the leaves have withered.
The answer depends on factors called “Siting”: whether the site is sunny, shady, partly shady, wet, or dry, windy, or sheltered.
Very few plants can fulfill all these requirements. A few standouts:
Arborvitaes are typically used in all these situations.That’s because there are MANY types of arborvitae. The most common ones are:
The Emerald Green Arborvitae is easily acquired, not very expensive, and will thrive, if properly sited and planted. It is exceptionally beautiful and dense when healthy.
The Green Giant Arborvitae is larger, more vigorous, is more expensive to acquire but has a low maintenance requirement. Exceptionally tall and dense, initially the hedge has a saw-tooth upper edge, until it fills in.
The Leyland Cypress is very fast growing and inexpensive to acquire, but has very high maintenance costs over time and has a short life span ( in tree years).
The Eastern Hemlock is the best and most adaptable to all the conditions above but must receive chemical maintenance annually to control a deadly invasive insect.
Plum Yew/ fastigiate: A small narrow hedging plant, maximum 9’ feet in height by 5’ wide
Plum yew/ prostrate: A slow growing, low spreading needle evergreen.
False Holly/ variegated This is a sharp leaved, colorful plant that can serve as a low hedge up to 5’ tall
False Holly/ Gulftide : This is a sharp-leaved dark green plant that forms a hedge up to 8’ tall
Hellebores compact evergreen low plants that flower from winter through late spring
Franklins Gem Boxwoods: The small leaved evergreen often has a yellow hue and can form a low soft hedge
Deer resistant Flowering perennials/ Not evergreen
Perovskia Russian Sage this slender stemmed plant forms a large cloud of silver leaves with blue or purple flowers.
Nepeta Walker’s Low: This is a low mounding soft stem perennial that attracts butterflies and bees, grey leaves with blue flowers.
Bleeding Hearts This gorgeous delicate plant blooms early and disappears in summer heat.
All ferns, including Christmas fern which is evergreen.
I have list of preferred bulbs which are unusually beautiful and give long term color in the garden in shady or part shady conditions: Click on links for representative pictures.
Chiandoxasiciliana Squill low growing blue bulbs emerge early
Crocus vernus Dutch Crocus: Low growing purple bulbs emerge early
Crocosmia Lucifer: A wow factor of 10. Tall slender leaves and a brilliant orange red summer display.
Acidanthera Drooping Gladiola Unique mask- like flower long blooms in summer.
Nectaroscordumsiculum ( Sicilian Honey Garlic )Tall slender bulbs with green and magenta flowers, very special.
Tiger Lily HybridTigrinium “Splendens” :tall bulbs with gracefully nodding Turk’s Cap orange blooms in summer.
Allium aflatunense Purple Sensation Allium: Spectacular tall purple bulbs.
Allium caeruleum- Tall blue bulbs form a soft explosion of color late spring.
Allium Gladiator; Tall purple globes on sturdy stalks 3’ tall.
Fritillaria persica: Stupendous stalk of nodding purple blooms.
Daylily Purple D’oro : Unusual purple on magenta flowers with yellow throats, a rebloomer.
Helleborus spp.Compact evergreen blooming plants in colors ranging from green to white to pink and purple.
Beesiadeltophylla Full to part shade, evenly moist. Reaches 12” x24”
Sweet Flag (Acorus);; Sprays of slender leaves erupt from ground level in yellow, pale gree, or striped varieties.
Coral Bells (Heuchera); Too many colors to name here, do well with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Lady Fern (Athyrium); Delicate but large rosettes of sword shaped leaves
Lungwort (Pulmonaria); A family of low plants with spotted leaves and blue or purple or pink blooms.
Hosta (Plantain Lily); Herbaceous and ubiquitous vigorous plants which range in size from chihuahua to mastiff and colored from plain green to ba-Lazing yellow, blue, red and whatever else you can imah-Gine, dahling.
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra); Delicate, beautiful so short a season, wait til next year. A MUST HAVE.
Snakeroot (Cimicifuga): Red leaves reach upwards for the light; cast pale pink flower stalks.
Acorus gramineus “Licorice”low green grassy type forms dense clumps.
Carex apalachica taller, green and airy type of clump adaptable to any area.
Dwarf Mondo Grasscompact red leaf grassy plant
Epimedium sulfureum:low growing heart shaped leaves produce cute yellow flowers.
Partial list below, link to ASPCA website follows:
If your dog chews or eats any of these, seek veterinary help immediately.https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/h?field_toxicity_value%5B01%5D=01&
Quercus ‘Green Pillar a tall and narrow deciduous tree
Distyllium Blue Cascade, evergreen shrubs that fill in and create a loose hedge replaces cherry laurels.
Tiarella Eco Running Tapestry A low growing ground cover with white flowers.
Abelia Rose Creek very compact green shiny leaves and intense pink blooms on a medium sized, mostly evergreen shrub.
Abelia Golden Fleece yellow leaves and pink flowers on a smaller shrub.
Abelia Hopely very small good for shade
Callicarpa Americana bigger leaves and fruits purple: Amazing purple berries in fall.
CalycanthusHartledge Winea largish shrub that can be used as a very small tree, produces nice red flowers in summer.
For open spaces we recommend Planting of Colorful trees, follow links to view pictures, an.
Crape Myrtles numerous varieties 8-10’ typical size planted Small – medium trees
Seven Sons Flower 5-6’ typical size planted Medium sized tree blooms twice
Koelreuteriapaniculata 7-8’ typical size planted Medium tree with yellow flowers
Clrerodendronthomsonae “Ronnie tree”4-5’ typical size planted Small tree with rose colored flowers
Physocarpus on a Standard 3-4’ typical size planted Large red cascading with white flowers
Ruby Styrax or Pink Chimes Styrax 5-6’ typical size planted Purple leaves and white flowers
Smoke Bush Gold type 3-4’ typical size planted Very large shrub with yellow leaves and white flowers
Acer japonica “ Butterflies” 3-4’ typical size planted : Silver, Green and pink leaves
Tricolor Beech 6-7’ typical size planted A slow growing purple and green leaf Beech with white mottling.
Wet Zone perennial planning list: These plants bloom and are very attractive in the summer time.
Clethra Summersweet Tall shrub
Magnolia Little Gem Tall Shrub
Rogersia aeculifolia Tall perennial
Goatsbeard( Aruncusdioucious) Tall Perennial
Chellonelyoni“ Hot Lips” medium height pernnial
Ligularia “ Britt Marie Carwford” Medium height perennial
Flats Creeping Jennyvery low ground cover.
Ealy season bloomers before the dandelions
Snowdrops ( Galanthus spp.. )
WnterButtercup (Eranthusspp = Aconite)
Chiondoxaspp Glory of the Snow
Siberian squill Scilla siberica
Anemono spp. ( anemonaes)
Muscari spp.. (Grape hyacinths)
Checkered lilies Fritillaria meleagris
Late Spring bulbs
Allium spp( Flowering Garlic)
Dutch Iris( Iris x hollandica)
Wood Hyacinth ( Hyacynthoideshispanica)
© Copyright Ron Strauss Licensed Arborist and Tree Believer. 2020. All Rights Reserved