Pruning, weeding can improve the overall health of the yard

The busy spring season has passed but there are still many tasks that can be done to improve the overall look and health of the yard. Remove the spent flowers or seedpods on all perennial and annual plants that produce seeds. Seeds that are left on the plant to mature take energy from the plant as opposed to growing larger or producing more flowers.

The busy spring season has passed but there are still many tasks that can be done to improve the overall look and health of the yard.

Remove the spent flowers or seedpods on all perennial and annual plants that produce seeds. Seeds that are left on the plant to mature take energy from the plant as opposed to growing larger or producing more flowers.

All seeds become a problem when they germinate in large numbers. It is best to remove the problem before it becomes one.

Removing spent flowers was once time consuming but now many of the annuals on the market are sterile — they can be left as is.

Early-blooming shrubs set or develop next year’s flowerbuds now. By pruning now or shortly after the plants bloom, they will produce flowers next spring. If pruned when the plants are dormant, the next season’s flowers will be removed. Lilacs, double flowering plum, nanking cherries and forsythia are some of the plants affected.

It is best to do corrective pruning each year as little growth will need to be removed. Waiting until a shrub is overgrown makes the task much more difficult and lengthy a process as up to a quarter of the growth can be removed at a time.

Start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches. Dead branches are easy to spot at this time of year as they are bare. Damaged or diseased wood can hide under the canopy of leaves but often they will produce different coloured or shaped leaves.

Always cut branches back to another branch, leaf or the ground. Stumps or stubs that are left at the end of branches are unsightly and do not heal properly. Stumps dry and rot, becoming an entrance for insects and diseases.

Next remove branches that are crossing, rubbing or are growing inwards. Before deciding which of the rubbing branches to remove, take the following into consideration: the final shape of the plant, the direction the branch is growing, the size of the branch and how many branches it is rubbing on. Keep the branch that contributes to a symmetrical shape of the plant as the goal is to have a healthy, attractive plant.

Shrubs start to look ratty when the centre becomes too dense to allow sunlight to penetrate. The problem can be rectified by removing some of the old growth from the centre at ground level. Lastly, shape the shrub to make it pleasing to the eye.

New growth, or candles, on spruce and pine are still soft, making it an ideal time to shape these plants. Removing part of the new growth will encourage the plant to fill out, becoming bushier. This is done by holding the new growth in one hand and snapping off part of the new growth with the other. Removing new growth with shears or pruners is not advised as needles are usually cut and damaged.

Always remove weeds before they go to seed. If weeds are allowed to seed, there will be many more weeds the next season. Dispose of seeds in the garbage as it is unlikely that the compost will get hot enough to kill them.

While it is important to keep up with the garden, it is also important to enjoy it. Take time to sit and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the garden.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lived near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Most Read