Citizen pruners

We don’t have ‘citizen pruners’ in Virginia but cooperative extension offers many garden related courses. Many of us have taken the Master Gardener course and there are a lot more classes offered under this banner. The “Tree SMARTS” program covers many issues home owners may have concerning health and care of yard trees. The “sustainable landscape” class also teaches homeowners to understand tree needs and landscape maintenance. For all courses available see the extension website at
From bee keeping to garden design to tools and techniques, Virginia extension programs are available throughout the year. To keep your new knowledge handy, many guides are also offered. Of particular use for me are the timetable guides for pruning deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Though one of the best reasons to prune is because a branch or shrub is blocking a view or has overgrown its space, knowing when to prune will help the plant repair and grow better in the future.
So when my mother wanted the boxwood cut below the windows, we got out our clippers and went to work. July is the latest time to cut boxwoods so they don’t have new growth when cold weather comes. Because of boxwood blight it is recommended not to prune in early spring as was once taught but rather to wait until May or June when temperatures are steadier and less likely to have severe fluctuations. We have already cut spring flowering shrubs after they bloomed and will wait to cut summer flowering shrubs until later in winter. If it’s broken and dangling or is hitting you in the head, cut it now.

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