Second-Chance Pruning

Early bloomers have been going wild; now’s the time to tame them

If you did not get a chance to prune your plants earlier this spring, you have a second opportunity, especially for pruning crabapple, cherry and shade trees. Pruning these trees now will lessen the heavy growth of suckers originating from the base of the plants and from around the large cuts you make to prune the plant to the desirable shape. After the tree has finished its first flush of growth in the spring, the food supply it has stored in the roots and in tissues surrounding the buds is nearly exhausted. Thus, growth following summer pruning will be less vigorous, requiring less pruning later in summer to keep the desired shape.

Counter-Attack Poison Ivy

I was looking at an old copy of Bay Weekly and I read your reply to an email question concerning poison ivy. You said to spray the poison ivy with a mixture of one gallon of Roundup, a trade name for glyphosate, mixed with one teaspoon of ammonium sulfate. Is my understanding correct that if I mix one gallon of Roundup with one teaspoon of ammonium sulfate, I would have the correct mixture to attack my poison ivy problem in June when there are many leaves to absorb the mixture?
    –Gino, by email

  Roundup is sold in different concentrations. If you purchase the diluted form that comes in a spray bottle, simply add a teaspoon of ammonium sulfate to a gallon of spray blend. If you purchase Roundup in the more concentrated form, mix a gallon following the recommendations and add a teaspoon of ammonium sulfate.
  Spray the poison ivy in late June.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at DR.FRGouin@gmail.com.
All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

    If azaleas have exceeded their desired space, cut them back severely now that they have finished flowering. Azaleas are very tough plants. Their stems are loaded with thousands of latent buds just waiting for an opportunity to initiate growth. Within two to three weeks after cutting the stems severely, you will see small green buds emerging from between the crevasses of the bark. From them numerous branches will emerge. Allow these branches to grow all summer long without additional pruning. Next spring, prune away all weak spindly branches and prune remaining branches so that the space between them is three to four inches. There will be limited flowering next year, but the plants will resume normal flowering within two years.
    When it comes to pruning forsythia, summer pruning should be limited to removing one-quarter of the large woody stems with a thick covering of bark. By removing a few old branches as close to the ground as possible, you will be redirecting the nutrients being absorbed by the roots to the growth in existing stems and branches.