• By Faye Kuosman, Extension Agent

Horticulture

Pruning trees and shrubs in the fall

Though light pruning and removal of dead wood are fine this time of year, more severe pruning should be left until spring. Consider pruning to be “light” if 10 percent or less of the plant is removed. Dead wood does not count in this calculation. Keep in mind that even light pruning of spring-blooming shrubs such as lilac and forsythia will reduce flowers for next year. We normally recommend that spring-bloomers be pruned after flowering.

Shrubs differ in how severely they can be cutback. Junipers do not break bud from within the plant and therefore should be trimmed lightly, if you wish to keep the full shape. Overgrown junipers should be removed. On the other hand, there are certain shrubs that can be pruned back severely during the spring. Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to three to five-inch stubs. This works well for spirea, forsythia, pyracantha, ninebark, Russian almond, little leaf mock orange, shrub roses and flowering quince. Just remember that spring is the correct time to do this, not now.

Planning to do a soil test soon? Do it this fall instead of the spring. Here is why:

Though we often think of soil testing as a spring chore, fall can actually be a better time. Especially this year as our soil-testing lab at the University of Kentucky will be very busy this spring due to renovations going on at the lab in Western Kentucky. This means they will be taking in samples from across the state resulting in a long turnaround from submission to recommendations. For more information, contact the Woodford County Extension Office at 873-4601. Woodford County Soil Conservation sponsors up to 20 soil samples a year free of charge for Woodford County residents and landowners.

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