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15 votes
Accepted

Should I trim off flower buds on basil?

If I get your question right, should you pinch the buds of the basil plant before they flower in order to maximize leaf production? Answer yes. If you don't trim the buds off, then they will flower, ...
  • 3,639
13 votes

Is it safe to hard prune my basil plant?

I would suggest a slightly different approach: Make cuttings from the top(s), that way you will get smaller and compact plants (that you can then prune before they get long and leggy) and with a bit ...
  • 15.6k
11 votes
Accepted

How should I deal with tree root pushing on brick retaining wall?

If you cut the root you will damage the leaves that are fed by that root. That root also provides structural stability. A better idea is to rebuild or remove the retaining wall in that area. The ...
  • 57.2k
10 votes

Pruning a weeping mulberry

Oh my goodness. Do you understand the treasure you have? Find a master pruner to create a covered walkway! How wonderful. If you destroy this tree I will haunt you when I am dead! (Grins). That ...
  • 39.9k
10 votes

My sunflowers are too tall (over 5') and butting into the top of my enclosed garden

Sunspot is a relatively "short" variety that only grows to 4 feet. Autumn beauty will grow to about 6 feet. The Mexican sunflower Tithonia diversifolia (which is not really a sunflower at ...
  • 11.3k
9 votes
Accepted

How should I care for my multi-variety apple and pear trees?

You definitely need to do some pruning. Before you start pruning a tree, you should find all of the graft points. Since you have multi-graft trees, there should be one graft at the point where each ...
  • 9,424
9 votes
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Japanese Maple Care after years of neglect

The white patches mostly appear to be one of the lichens rather than fungal mycelium - the fact that they're under the moss isn't unusual, and no treatment is required. Moss and lichens often occur ...
  • 130k
9 votes
Accepted

Can I prune a grape vine in near-freezing weather?

You can also prune when it freezes, without problems. I do that regularly under snow and have never had a problem. It is also done regularly in my region. Just: don't prune too much early: wait a ...
8 votes
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Can rubber gloves spread plant diseases?

It's certainly possible to spread some fungal infections on gardening gloves and tools you may have used. Given you're wearing rubber gloves, after handling diseased plant material, its sensible to go ...
  • 130k
8 votes
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Practical identification of suckers on a cumquat tree

It would seem the scion is at the base of your plant, as shown in the second picture. Therefore, the branch you're concerned about is not a sucker because it doesn't arise from below the scion, or ...
  • 130k
8 votes
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Pruning suckers from bush beans?

Allow the side shoots to grow. Bush beans are bred to be bushy, so by removing them you're fighting the plants' natural growth habit. The side shoots also carry leaves, which will provide more energy ...
  • 7,159
8 votes
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How should I prune this grafted lemon tree?

You may be right - the grafted part died back, the rootstock took over, and the only part that's left of the original grafted lemon is at the bottom. It shouldn't be thorny - the thorny parts will ...
  • 130k
8 votes
Accepted

Is this rule of thumb for timing dormant pruning correct?

I think the grouping would look more logical if it were made on the way the trees set fruit: stone fruit trees (plum, apricot) are the early bloomers, while the trees with fruits that contain seeds (...
  • 5,366
8 votes
Accepted

Can I trim a blue spruce tree to keep it from getting larger?

You can certainly try to, but you will face at least two significant problems: Apical dominance - if you cut out the leader (the strongest shoot right at the top of the tree) this will trigger other ...
8 votes

How to get more shoots after pruning Yucca?

Some plants have epicormic buds under their bark and from these buds new shoots can emerge. It looks that your Yucca has them on the white areas of the trunk and you can lightly scratch the bark in ...
  • 5,366
8 votes
Accepted

Should I redo this pruning cut?

The cut is fine but the tree has or will have issues. You can see that there is already interior decay in the heartwood of the tree. As stormy indicates water will enter the wound and decay will ...
  • 57.2k
7 votes

Which side of a dead branch should you prune?

The living part. You want the cut end to heal, which means that it has to be living. Also, if the branch is dying because of infection, you don't want to leave that part of the branch attached for ...
  • 7,159
7 votes

When and how should I prune lavender?

Lavender is a plant that can get straggly if it's not pruned, but it's a small perennial shrub, so its needs are very different from basil which is an herbaceous annual. Essentially, you allow ...
  • 7,159
7 votes

Is it better to cut off drying branches sooner or later?

This is the correct place to ask this question. The answer is yes, pruning branches that aren't doing anything for the plant saves the plant energy. The plant will 'prune' itself eventually so if we ...
  • 39.9k
6 votes

Have a grafted fruit tree. Want to have less of one of the fruits

I would approach this in a gradual fashion. The requested picture would help, but as a general idea, cut back perhaps 1/3 of the less desired part one year, and repeat. From a growth point of view, ...
  • 19.9k
6 votes
Accepted

Should I clean pruning shears with hot water, alcohol, or similar?

Yes, this is a good practice. Candidates for cleaning include secateurs, hedge shears, grafting knives and anything that contacts plant tissue. A quick dip in alcohol followed by a wipe down should ...
  • 57.2k
6 votes
Accepted

What is the best method/saw to cut through tough palm tree fronds with? (30-foot Queen Palms)

When you say pole saw I assume you mean a standard manual pole saw. If you're willing to spend a little money look into a chainsaw pole saw, that should tear through them in a hurry.
  • 1,043
6 votes

How should I prune a copper beech sapling?

Copper beeches (Fagus sylvatica Purpurea) are simply reddish varieties of the European or common beech (Fagus sylvatica). These trees grow happily and abundantly in many European forests, for example ...
  • 15.6k
6 votes

How and when should I prune my 5 in one dwarf apple tree, including the suckers?

Take a close look. Usually the main graft of a fruit tree is a few inches above the ground. It will appear as a lump in the trunk. In a multiple cultivar graft, it may be higher. In any case, ...
6 votes
Accepted

Does an Amaryllis plant *need* to go into dormancy?

Yes, and no (see below), but it does it naturally, and there is no need to 'cut off roots and leaves'. You just leave it in its pot, allowing the foliage to die down, pull off the shrivelled, brown ...
  • 130k
6 votes

Dracaena Fragrans Grafting?

Yes, in good light the Mass Cane, or Dracaena massangea as it is also called propagates readily without grafting. If the stem has died you take a sharp knife or sequiteur and cut off the healthy ...
  • 57.2k
6 votes

Should I remove tomato plant leaves to Increase yield?

The professional association in my place also recommend to prune leaves, but not so much, and not in a single pass. Their reasoning: bottom leaves are at risk to bring of fungal diseases (with ...
6 votes
Accepted

How can I make this succulent less splayed-out and lanky?

I think its actually Sansevieria cylindrica, and as such, it needs higher light levels than many of the other varieties. Grown in bright daylight, it will be more erect and is less likely to collapse ...
  • 130k

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