As spring approaches, many homeowners begin to think about their yard’s landscape. To ensure healthy spring plants, homeowners may want to prune the trees and shrubs around their home. But do not just prune for the sake of pruning, make sure you have a valid reason for pruning before you begin.
Pruning during the late winter months allows for the removal of damage caused by winter winds and precipitation. Pruning also allows removal of diseased, crowded or hazardous branches. Limit the pruning amount to one-fourth of the tree’s volume. Start by thinning out branches by cutting them off close to the tree’s trunk or a large limb.
Leave the base of the branch, known as the collar, intact. Cutting the collar will prevent the plant from growing over the wound caused from pruning. Pruning in this manner allows for a healthy tree that is more open to sunlight and air movement. If the branch is cut back only part way, there will likely be a crowded regrowth of new branches where the cut was made. Do not seal or paint the wounds resulting from pruning because this will only delay the tree’s healing process.
With spring-flowering shrubs, the best time to prune these plants is right after they have flowered. When pruning is done after blooming, the flowers will have been enjoyed, and the plant can recover, grow and produce more buds for flowers next spring.
Pruning is not limited to a certain time of year. Homeowners can prune at any time if they notice branches and limbs that are damaged either from weather, disease or insects.
The 33rd Kentucky Alfalfa Conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Fayette County Extension Office in Lexington. A small registration fee includes admission to the conference and exhibit area, lunch, refreshments, proceedings and other related materials.
Dr. Dennis Hancock, native Kentuckian and Extension Forage Specialist at the University of Georgia, will be the keynote speaker. Program topics include: Alfalfa for Grazing, Keys to Success When Harvesting Alfalfa as Baleage, Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Fertilizer and Hay Fields, Making and Marketing Hay for the Horse Industry, and Finishing Beef on Alfalfa. I plan to drive up and will be glad to offer a ride. Let us know your intentions to attend at 845-2811.