Readers have trees on their minds this month.
Dale, who lives in southeastern Wisconsin, submitted the following question: I have a beautiful Walnut tree but it has been sprouting branches near its
bottom and just does not look right. Can I prune them now ? If so what angle? And should I put something on the exposed ends? Some of the branches are approx. an inch in diameter. I surely don’t want to harm my tree!
Teresa submitted the following: I am in need of help to get rid of the seedlings from my pear tree. I need to know when and how to manage them as I have a flowerbed under my tree. I did not put these in but inherited them from the previous owner. They are a nightmare to deal with. Thank you for your help.
If you have advice for Dale or Teresa, leave a comment below.
The following is from Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith, who wrote this on a more pleasant day than today:
Yes, Mr. Rogers, it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. And presentations by Master Gardeners Deb Walser on New Perennials and Becki Lynch on Grasses at the Lawn and Garden Show last weekend got me really, really motivated to work in the yard. As I moaned about achy muscles, my favorite Granddaughter Catie, chided me for not stretching before grabbing the rake and nippers. Now is a great time to commence waking your flower and vegetable beds. If you have heavy concentrations of leaves and debris in the beds packed down by snow and ice, rake them out and fire up the lawn mower or shredder. Fluff the mulch and add the shredded leaves to the top of it. Air, water and nutrients need to reach dormant roots and bulbs. Encourage drainage. Poorly drained soil or standing water will cause roots and bulbs to rot. Think soil amendments. Add compost to your beds. If you’re thinking of having the soil tested, now is a good time and you can pick up the test from the Extension Office. I got about half my beds trimmed and raked out today before I ran out of energy. During a break I enjoyed cold tea instead of hot coffee, and planned further for the new bed I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I know where the old seeder wagon and garden gate can stand. I know approximately how much mulch and grass cloth to purchase. And, I know about how many Hostas to buy at the Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale. I’ll broach the subject of the stone erosion control area to my favorite son at a later date.
Draw a diagram of your deck and create an interesting focal point using your houseplants grouped with potted annuals. Several years ago another Master Gardener suggested moving house plants outside for the summer. It’s amazing how they thrive. Just remember to keep them out of the direct, hot sunlight. Get them ready now by repotting, if necessary. Begin watering and fertilizing lightly and gradually increase exposure to sunlight.
Achy muscles aside, the fresh air and sunshine were so welcome. I’m anxious to get back out and clean up the remainder of the gardens.
P.S. Many of you will be receiving or purchasing Hardy Oriental, Asiatic or traditional white lilies soon. Keep them healthy by placing them in a cool, bright location in your home. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Perforate or remove the decorative foil so the water doesn’t collect in the decorative pot or basket. Remember to place the pot on a saucer to prevent spills. Continue to care for the lily after the flowers fade because they can be planted outdoors. The planting site should be in full sun with well drained soil. Lilies create beautiful backdrops or vertical accents.