3238 E 800TH AVE
ALTAMONT IL   62411
618-483-5798

ALWERDT'S GARDENS

"A DESTINATION GARDEN CENTER"

Watering Guidelines

TREE AND SHRUB PRUNING TIPS
C:\Users\user\Desktop\trees_0clip_image022.pngDeciduous  Trees    Including such trees as maples, oaks, Redbuds, Crabapples, Pears  and other trees that loose there leaves in winter.   These trees are grown for their colorful leaves  or flowers and as larger shade tree or nice flowering specimens.   They should be pruned as they grow to create a central leader (main trunk).  This is best done in late winter before buds brake.  One should remove any other vertical branches taking them down to the main trunk.  After developing a central leader one should select strong scaffold (side) branches.  These should have a wide crotch between 60 and 90 degrees and be evenly positioned around the central leader.  Remove those that you do not wish to leave on the tree.  The scaffold branches may be thinned to help open up the canopy. One should also take care to remove any crossing or dead branches, as well as water sprouts.  These can and should be removed at any time of the year.  It is advisable to never remove more that 20% of a trees branches at one time. Trees should never be toped, toping trees weakens the trees structure, making it more vulnerable to insect and disease damage.  It also reduces the trees life expectancy and destroys the trees appearance.  Some trees Bleed sap when pruned in early spring, those such as Birch, maples , elm, walnut, poplars, willows and lindens should only be pruned after the trees leaves have opened in spring.  This makes them less likely to bleed sap.  Trees in the Rosacea family such as crabapples, hawthorns, and ash should only be pruned in spring if pruned to late in the year it can interfere with the trees ability to harden off in readiness for the upcoming winter.  Dead, diseased, broken or damaged branches along with water sprouts and suckers can be removed at any time.  It is advisable to fertilize deciduous trees in late April or early may.  A fertilizer with a 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 ratio is advisable such as Espoma Plant Tone.  Mature and established trees may not need fertilizer every year and can be harmed by excessive fertilization. 

 
C:\Users\user\Desktop\trees_0clip_image004.pngAcer Palmatum (Japanese Maples)  There are many types of Japanese maples from the smaller  laceleaf types to the larger up right forms.  All Japanese maples require about the same kind of pruning.  If one has enough space Japanese maples can be left to grow in a natural state, they are naturally self pruning and will shape themselves.  It is advisable if one wish’s to keep the tree to a smaller size or open up the structure that regular thining is done.  This Species should not be pruned as a hedge but rather be methodically shaped by carefully removing select branches.  One should remove branches that are crossing, dead, or that just are too dense to see the form of the tree.  One can remove up to a third of the branches at one time.  This can be done from early spring into the fall. Trees heal quickly after pruning and need no aftercare.  Japanese Maples don’t require a lot of fertilization, but a low level in late winter or early spring is good to promote healthy growth.  It is recommended to use a balanced low level, fertilizer such as Espoma Plant Tone.  Avoid fertilizing at other times of the year as it can promote new growth to late in the season that could be damaged by winter cold, snow and ice. 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\evergreens_clip_image034.pngEvergreen Trees Include such trees as Pine, Spruce, Fir, Yew, Hemlock, Arborvitae and Juniper.  These trees are grown for their ability to retain their foliage (or needles) year round.  They make great screens and specimens in the landscape.  Proper identification of the branching structure of the evergreen is important before pruning. Evergreens such as pine spruce and fir are known to have whorled branches.  New growth extends from buds that were formed the previous year on the tips of the twigs.  These evergreens should be pruned in early spring before new growth starts except for pines that should be pruned after new grown has come out in late spring or early summer.  New growth known as a candle should be reduced by half, and it should not be sheared or cut back into the woody stem of the tree.  When pruning, follow the general branching pattern to maintain its natural shape.  Evergreens such as Arborvitae, Yew, Hemlock and Junipers are known as a random branching evergreen.  These Evergreens can be pruned heavealy even sheared to maintain a desired shape.  They produce new growth from hidden buds at the branch junction.  Pruning should take place in early spring with new growth covering the cuts. Occasionally and evergreen will loose its central leader.  Often times an evergreen will develop a replacement from a latent dormant bud or a upmost branch will take its place.  If no leader develops naturally one may have to tie one of the upmost branches up to become the new leader.  Shorten the surrounding side branches when doing this to promote this branch to take over. It is advisable to fertilize evergreens in early spring before new growth starts and up until around July 15th.  Evergreens are not heavy feeders and don’t require as much fertilizer as deciduous trees or those that flower.  Evergreens are more of an acid loving plant and benefit from an acidic fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Holly Tone.  It is advisable that boxwood and arborvitae are not acid loving evergreens and Espoma Plant tone should be used instead.    
C:\Users\user\Desktop\evergreens_clip_image002.pngBoxwood Evergreen boxwood can be pruned almost any time throughout the growing season.  They can be selectively thinned to create a more natural open appearance by removing select branches with a hand pruner.  Most often Boxwoods are sheared with an electric or gas powered hedge pruner this gives them a more uniform or formal shape. Ether form will work it’s just a matter of preference.  It is advisable to not prune in late fall or winter, by doing so it promotes new growth that cannot be hardened off in time before winter appears. Pruning in late Fall or Winter will create a plant that is vulnerable to winter damage.  Boxwoods benefit from an annual dose of fertilizer in Spring, however they are one of the few evergreens that are not acid loving so a balanced fertilizer such as Espoma Plant Tone is advisable over Holly Tone. 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\evergreens_clip_image016.pngChamaecyparis   There are many forms of evergreen Chamaecyparis they range from Soft Serve, to Golden Mops to Lemon Tread.  Most Chamaecyparis require little to no pruning.  If a light shaping or a heading cut are needed it is advisable to do this in early spring. Chamacyparis are not heavy feeders but an acid fertilizer such as Espoma’s Holly Tone can be used in early spring to promote new growth. 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image018.pngDeutzia    Deutzia’s are a great deciduous plant with a great blooming habit in the early spring.  They are low maintenance plants with a punch of color.  Deutzia’s flower on old wood, so it’s advisable to trim the plant back hard after blooming in late spring. Doing so promotes new foliage and flowers for the next year.  Fertilize with Holly tone in late winter/early spring before new buds break.  This will promote even bigger flowers in the weeks to come.  

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image024.pngForsythia      Forsythia’s create a great early pop of color in the spring.  They are easy to care for and come in a range of sizes.  Since forsythia bloom so early one should hold off on pruning until after they bloom.  In late spring after blooming, the shrub may be cut down to over half to reduce size or reshape it. Because of the nature of the shrub they can be trimmed with a hedge trimmer.  Forsythia require, little fertilizer but do benefit from a dose of Espoma Plant tone in early spring to promote new growth and amazing blooms. 

Hydrangea  There are 6 main type (or classifications) of hydrangeas 1) The big leaf or florist type of hydrangea( hydrangea Macrophila) , 2)the (panicle) or peegee hydrangea, 3)the(Quercifolia) or Oakleaf Hydrangea, 4)The Smooth or (Arborescens) hydrangea, 5)Hydrangea (Petiolaris) or climbing hydrangea, 6)And (Surrata) or mountain hydrangea.  Hydrangeas are classified into these groups because of different flowering types, fertilizer requirements, and pruning times and severity.

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image058.png1) Hydrangea Macrophila, or Florist type of hydrangea bloom on old wood and should not be pruned in the spring or you will be removing there flowers.  They can be pruned after flowering but it is advisable not to prune unless necessary. This type includes the Lets Dance Series, Everlasting Series, and the Endless Summer Series The Endless Summer type can bloom on new and old wood so they can be trimmed in spring if need be . 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image060.png2) Hydrangea   Paniculata, bloom on new wood and can be pruned in the spring without worry of removing the blooms.  This type includes hydrangea BoBo, Bombshell, Firelight, Great star, and Limelight.  



C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image076.png3) Hydrangea Quercifolia, also known as Oakleaf hydrangea blooms on old wood and should not be pruned.  If pruning is required do it shortly after blooming so the plant has time to reset buds for the upcoming season.  This type includes Gatsby Star, Gatsby Gal, Sikes Dwarf, Ruby Slipper, Snow Queen, Munchkin, Pee Wee, and Alice. 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image042.png4)Hydrangea Arborescens or smoothe Hydrangea blooms on new wood and should be pruned in late winter and early spring with no worry of flower bud removal.  This type includes the Incrediball series as well as Invincibelle spirit series. 


5) Hydrangea Petiolaris or climbing hydrangea,  are vining form of hydrangea that can grow up trellies and trees. They do not require pruning except to keep down there size, it is advisable to prune after flowering so flower buds are not removed . 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image082.png6) Hydrangea Surrata or mountain hydrangea bloom on old wood so don’t trim them in the early spring.  They can be trimmed after blooming leaving enough time for growth and bud development for the next year.  This type includes hydrangea Tuff Stuff and Tuff Stuff Red. 
Hydrangeas all benefit from annual fertilizer applications.  An early dose of Espoma plant tone will help with blooming and overall plant health it is advisable to fertilize in early spring and then again in early summer. Do not however fertilize after august first, fertilizing late in the year can leave the hydrangea “soft” with new growth that can be damaged with winter cold. 
Color Change,  Many think that fertilizer will change the color of their hydrangeas.  This is not entirely true, hydrangeas flowers do change shades as they mature and get older but only the big leaf (Hydrangea Macrophila) and mountain hydrangeas (Hydrangea Surrata) can change their color in a predictable and controllable way.  It is easier to change a hydrangea from pink to blue than from blue to pink. But both are doable with a chemical application or either aluminum sulphate or Dolomitic Lime.  To Change from Pink to blue one must Add Aluminum Sulphate, which lower the ph (5.2-5.5 is ideal) in the soil around the hydrangea .  Its Advisable to apply ½ once mixed with one gallon of water several times though out the growing season.  Make sure to water in advance, as a heavy dose on a dry plant can burn the roots.  To Change the flower from blue to pink one must increase the ph to around 6.0-6.2 to do this one should add dolomitic lime several time a year around the plant.  Use caution not to raise the ph above 6.4 which can cause iron deficiency in the plants.  Hydrangea Panticulata, Hydrangea Quercifolia, Hydrangea Arborescens, and Hydrangea Petiolaris  can’t change the color of their Flowers.  
  
C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image172.pngLilacs, Lilacs are known for their intoxicating fragrance in early spring along with a huge flush of color.  Lilacs are relatively easy to grow and care for but do require pruning at a select time of year. Pruning should only be done directly following blooming, if pruning is done at other times you will remove the blooms.   Pruning Lilacs on a regular basis helps to keep them from getting to tall and unmanageable.  When pruning lilacs it generally better to cut the entire stem than to just cut back the tops.  Trimming lilacs is best accomplished using a loppers or hand pruners.  Remove spent blooms all the way to the stem. This prevents seed production and encourages more blooms later on.  One should cut back about a third of the branches.  Cut away shoots growing near the ground that may be sprouting from the main trunk.  This helps improve air circulation and light to filter through.  If ones lilac bush are already to large or becoming overgrown and unsightly it might take a drastic pruning to renew the shrub.  One may need to reduce the entire bush to the ground (6 to 8”).  This is a drastic measure and will take up to three years before the plant has recovered to blooming size. Lilacs will bloom more and produce larger flowers with an annual dose of fertilizer.  It is recommended to use Espoma Plant Tone early in the season just as buds break to help boost flower size and production. 

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image186.pngViburnums Viburnums are a favorite for landsaping ,to creating a headge or as a specimen in the landscape.  They are an easy to care for plant with wonderful  sweet smelling blooms.  Viburnums should be pruned after floweing so as not to remove upcoming flower production.  Shape and thin to promote a healthy plant.  If the plant has gotten  to large a renew thining can be done, one can remove anywere from 1 to 5 canes from the base(6-8”).  This along with reduction pruning can help bring a old oversized shrub back to life.  Fertilization with Espoma Plant Tone should be done in early spring to promote a large healthy plant with abundant flowers.  C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image138.png

C:\Users\user\Desktop\shrubs_clip_image142.pngRododenderons and Azaleas  Rododenderons and Azaleas are one of the first sighs of spring they have wonderful  foliage the comes alive with blooms in spring.  Azaleas and Rododenderns are fairly easy to grow and care for as long as one remembers a few key things.  One of the key things to rememer about them is that they like a moist, rich soil but must not be overwatered. Overwatering will cause root rot and lead to a quick death.  It is advisable to amend the soil when planting to hold moisture but also to add sand , gravel or pine bark to promote adiquate drainage.  Another key thing to remember about rododenderons and azalea is correct placement in the landscape.  They prefer a location with morning sun and shade in the afternoon.  They also need to be protected from winter winds and soggy soil locations.  Rodondenderons and Azaleas can be pruned in early summer after spring blooming has occurred ( may or june) it is recommended not to remove more than the last year or two’s growth If pruning is done at any other time of year you will be removing your upcoming flush of flowers.  If a more drastic pruning is needed it will have to be undertaken in steps.  If one removes to much of the foliage at one time it can disrupt the root ball to foliage ratio and leave the plant vunerable to root rot. Its advisable not to remove more than a third or fourth of the folage in one year and to make sure the plant has recovered before another drastic Triming is done.   Rododenderons Respond well to an annual application of fertilizer .  It is advisable to apply this in a split dosage with half put down in march and the there half applied in june or july.  Make sure not to fertilize after july as this can lead to new growth in the fall that would be vunerable to winter damage.  By splitting the aplication in half you provide nutrience for spring bloom in march and nutrence for plant growth and recovery in june and july.  We advise using Espomas Holly Tone to promote flowers and growth.  When applying fertilizer make sure to avoid contact with the roots as they are tender and can easily be damaged by fertilizer applied directly to them.