Typical Plant Care Instructions
Rhododendron and Azaleas – Shape as desired soon after flowering, but not later than mid-July since next year’s flower buds begin forming at this time. An acidic fertilizer is preferred. Tiny white stipple marks on leaves indicates feeding by harmful lacebug insects on undersides. Use an insecticide and spray as per directions on label.
Most flowering shrubs – No special care. Trim lightly after flowering. If plants become too tall over the years, remove 1/4 to ¸ total plant height in early spring before leaves emerge.
Most hedge shrubs – When new growth elongates to 6-10″, cut growth in half to promote bushiness. Continue procedure until desired height and width is reached, then trim closely as needed.
Most trees, especially Cherries and Plums – No special care if a shrub. Trim lightly any time as desired. Remove “suckers” (vigorous young shoots growing vertically usually from ground level but also from main branches) as they appear. Periodically cut out branches that rub against others. Check for presence of scale insects on branches yearly (white fluffy egg masses and/or 1/8″ tan shields covering adults). Call spray company for a dormant oil application.
Pines – To keep compact, shear ‘candles’ (light green new growth spikes) with hedge shears or clippers when candles stop elongating and before needles on their sides reach 1/2″ in length. (Generally, the last week in May). Timing is critical. Cut off 2/3 – 3/4 of total length. Look for black inchworms devouring older needles between May 1st and May 25th . Worms can eat entire plant in one week if left undetected. Spray with an over-the-counter pesticide.
Re-blooming perennials – No special care. Shearing off spent flowers after initial wave of flowering fades will promote second wave. Otherwise, will flower sporadically till frost. See below for division.
Many perennials – No special care. Divide and thin out periodically (every 3-4 years) if clumps become too large, unmanageable, or have significant dead portions (especially in the centers).
Most ornamental grasses – Cut down to 4″ in early winter or before new growth appears in spring (early April). Can be divided into sections as large as desired with a spade in early spring after the clump greens up. Discard any obviously dead portions.