What's Up 176: Reduce spruce, divide bulbs

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This spruce is being pruned to remain small. You can see "how to", step by step in Reduce a Spruce in this issue. 

When spring's sprung early, we scramble to prune

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What's Up Issue 176 covered these stories. Follow the links to read about:


What's Coming Up This Week 

Buds make a break for it. Behead 'em anyway!

Spring's early, pruning falls behind but we go ahead with cutting butterfly bush, redtwig dogwood, dwarf spireas, roses and all the others we want to remain small and/or full of brand new wood.

Scrap those deer-scraped woodies. Admit the loss and move on when deer rub all the bark from a tree's trunk or shrub's cane. But take more precautions as you move on!


It's easy to Sponsor go to our Sponsor page

This week in our gardens:

Reduce a spruce. Keep a Colorado spruce small, cut a dwarf blue spruce down to size, and clip some shaggy Japanese maples, too.

Make more of bulbs now when you know just what you have and where you need more of them. Dig, divide and redistribute spring bulbs.

Stay ahead of trouble. Whatever ate your plants last year will be back this year. Predict a pest to nip its action in the bud. We make an example of tent caterpillar (jump on 'em now as Magnolia blooms!) and update you on spruce gall adelgid (pests that have probably beaten your tree care company to the buds).

Cut out brown: Less is more. Lenten rose is spectacular in bloom. Cut away last year's leaves so they can't spoil this spring's show.

Summary chart continues to grow. We've added this week's to-do list, so we're two weeks into our 52-week quick reference of what to do when. Take a look! Tell us how we're doing!


Green Thumbs Up, Green Thumbs Down:

Team Forum helps us stay fit and safe. We're sharing smart moves, good tools, common sense tips plus uncommonly sharp insights. You can jump into the discussion.

Lawn disasters: Nutsedge (Nut sedge) and futile grub control. Here's the straight scoop on one of the toughest weeds, with photos and a practical approach. As for grubs: In spring they're nearly grown, fat and hard to beat. Check now to be sure they really are a significant problem, then pick your battlein August.


Tip Cuttings: Links, summaries and invitations into this community's hottest topics

Keep a blue poppy on ice? A pro in the know says we can't grow it. So, laugh about it.

Cherry weeps while reaching for the sky. Romantic bloom, a cherry's shocking size... and suggestions for relandscaping a tiny courtyard.


Our Mentors, always with us

When you worry about how much you've cut off of a tree or shrub, remember this mentor's words about three generations of pruners, not done until they're scared!


The 45mph Garden

Top heavy hedges, light footed crane!

At 45mph, dense twiggy tops beg pruning, and we show how. Meanwhile birds on stilts beget smiles.


Aiming for Answers: Hit or Miss:

We score a hit when tree peony must move in summer, sulks into the fall but springs up now granting forgiveness.

Word's in that we hit the mark encouraging evergreen additions to bridge the seasons. We take this opportunity to showcase two of the best.

In a three-for-three week, we hear that our wisteria-pruning advice bore fruit... or, flowers, anyway. Then, an unexpected twist took us into explaining lackluster flower color, and Sponsors helped us bring that archived pruning advice onto the site.


Big Mistake, Big Lesson

Too late to curtail a little bulb. It's here, it's there, it's everywhere: Squill!



Do you have pinnate knowledge that the carpel's windthrown?
Words worth playing
on the game board, and knowing as you garden.


Expert Afield

Seeing Irish gardens through Janet's eyes.



Who are Janet & Steven,

Where we're appearing, and how to invite us to talk  in your garden or town

Our books, photos and other good stuff