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Category Search Results for:
Trees, Shrubs and Hedges

367 Total Found

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: 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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Question: 5-5201
Can I keep my Alberta Spruce trimmed as a dwarf plant? It is in a 13 inch pot. Elaine, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Alberta Spruce will not survive as a patio plant in zone 6. Roots will freeze dry. Picies glauca conica is vulnerable to spider mite in hotter climes. Although it is a dwarf spruce, it can grow to ten to twelve feet in 25 years. It does not need to be trimmed and it is often used as a Christmas tree. Alberta Spruce has a natural conical growth pattern. There is a dwarf Norway Spruce that only grows to a foot high. P.abies pygmaea could be completely covered with straw and burlap for the winter but it too prefers to be in a garden. Several other Norway Spruce would not grow as tall as the Alberta Spruce. P.abies compacta has a globe shape. P.abies gregoryana grows to two feet with crowded pale branches. P.abies nana has yellow-orange leaves and grows to two feet. A very dense P.abies maxwelli has a flat form and grows to two feet. Since Noway Spruce grow to 150 feet, these varieties are truly dwarf. Spruce prefer an acid soil and urns are alkaline and too restrictive of the roots.

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Question: 150-5201
Can we trim Alberta Spruce ? Jack, Mystic, CT

Mort's Answer:
It is not necessary. Picea glauca conica has a naturally compact dense growth pattern. You will not harm the plant with trimming in the summer. We have a Christmas tree type of plant. It is about a third brown. We found some insects on the plant by tapping a branch onto a white piece of paper. We sprayed with Diazonin and the bugs have seemed to disappear.

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Question: 151-5201
There is some growths that look like peppercorns near the joints of branches. What should we do? Angela, CT

Mort's Answer:
My educated guess is that you have Alberta Spruce . All spruce are subject to galls and red spider mites. Mites are detectable by using a white piece of paper under a branch. Red blotches will appear on the paper. The peppercorns are galls, which are egg nests for aphids or some other insect. Remove the galls and spray with Kelthane or some other miticide. Follow directions on the label.

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Question: 610-3511
I have three Alberta Spruce trees and they line my driveway and they are getting too big. Can they be pruned? I am not sure if they are dwarf. They are about 6 or 7 foot tall and very big around!! Sharon, Glastonbury, CT

Mort's Answer:
All Alberta Spruce are dwarf spruce. This means that they will not grow to 75 feet. They will slowly mature to 10 feet. There is no need to prune them. They are naturally conical and compact. If you prune, you will expose a leafless interior.

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Question: 97-5201
Išve got three American Chestnuts that are loaded with chestnuts. They are almost hitting the ground. When should I pick them? Are they edible? Can I cut the lower branches? Mary, Waterford, CT

Mort's Answer:
Usually, when the first frost hits or when the chestnuts start falling is the best time to pick the chestnuts. American chestnuts are now generally 15/16 ths because of the cross breeding to build resistance to the blight. You are fortunate to have one of the new breed. Yes, they are edible and can be used with coffee, if ground. Some folks add a confectionery glaze to the whole nut. Chinese chestnuts are bitter by comparison but are also edible. Italian or Spanish chestnuts are the ones most available as roasted chestnuts in New York. You can cut the lower branches, if you prefer the tree form. I like to prune in the late fall or early winter. You should paint the cuts to prevent infections from the fungus.

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