pruning time (in print or on the podcast)

LAST WEEK, BETWEEN edits on my next book, I gathered some friends and the proper tools and pruned–trying to erase more damage from last October’s snowstorm, and also the general stuff one needs to do late winter here each year.  Lots more to go, but we’re off to a good start–which got me thinking you might be wondering what to prune when and how. That’s the topic of this week’s radio podcast–and also of some useful stories in the A Way to Garden archives:

 Pruning Basics: This Week’s Podcast

Pruning was the topic of the latest weekly radio podcast I do with WHDD in nearby Sharon, CT, the nation’s smallest NPR station. Stream it from WHDD’s archive, or get it on iTunes (it’s the March 19 segment) or on the Stitcher app.

From the Archives:

  • New to pruning, or just a little rusty? Start with the pruning FAQs page.
  • Every year I’m asked repeatedly by reader why some flowering shrub or other failed to bloom, and often the answer is: You pruned it at the wrong time and cut off its flower buds. What I prune when.
  • Fruit trees are a whole topic to themselves (though included in the FAQ above). Here’s what I do with them.
  • Ditto lilacs, and they’re handled on the FAQ, too–but also here.
  1. Cathy says:

    One thing I learned in my Master Gardening classes. When you need to prune a large tree and are going to have someone else do it. Ask them, can you “top this tree?” if they say “yes!”, hang up the phone and look for someone else. Great advice!

    1. margaret says:

      Very funny, Cathy. :) Yes, indeed, topping is usually a scary thought. However, compared to what the utility company here did in its first “pruning” visit in my town in 10 years…well, topping would have been KINDER.

  2. Sam says:

    This is not about trees but pruning yes. I did not cut back my lavender. Last year I did and they took forever to fill in. So I put off doing so this year and now there are already some green leaves sprouting. How should I proceed?

  3. Terryk says:

    Hi Margaret,

    I listened to your podcast on pruning and realize I don’t have the correct tools to prune some lilacs and mediums size shrubs and larger climbing roses. You mention the folding saw but they come in so many sizes. Which would you say are good for my shubs?

    1. margaret says:

      The folding hand saw is sort of a standard size, with a blade of about 8 inches (might be 7.5 in some brands). Felco, Corona, Sandvik, Fiskars etc. all make them.

  4. Sarah says:

    I just got my pruning done today. It’s a little late, but the dry days didn’t coincide with my free time. I’m just glad I got it done before everything REALLY budded out.

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