Hydrangeas Fail To Boom & Fuzzy Stuff On Pine Tree

Question:

  My Hydrangeas grow into beautiful plants each year but do not flower.  What do I  need to do to encourage them to bloom? I  tried 0-10-10 in the past with no success. 

Answer:

  • The failure of Hydrangeas to bloom is not a fertilizer issue.
  • The lack of flowers or sparse flowering is caused by heavy pruning. Hydrangeas bloom on the second-year wood. When the bushes are pruned severely, all the flowering wood is removed.
    • Many times, this is the result of inexperienced gardener. They can maintain grass well, but their horticulture is a bit shaky.
  • The Hydrangeas will flower next year if you trim the plants lightly. Better yet. remove the spent flowers and stem as close to the ground as you can get, then just shape the rest of the plant. Your plant should flower next year.
  • This is an issue with the older Hydrangea varieties. You avoid this problem by planting the with Endless Summer or similar varieties of Hydrangeas.
    • Endless Summer Hydrangeas were introduced ten to fifteen years ago and are easily recognized because they are grown in baby blue pots. What makes them unique is they bloom on both old and new wood. You get beautiful flowers every year, whether or not your gardener trims them at the wrong time or too vigorously. They are available now at your favorite garden center.

Question:

We bought a five-gallon pine tree last year to use as a living Christmas Tree. It has quite a bit of new growth, but one thing concerns me. It has been getting patches of white fuzzy stuff that looks like little cotton balls. Is this some kind of fungus, and what can I do to get rid of it? We plan to repot the tree in the fall after things cool down. Also, how might we keep it from getting too big? 

Answer:

  •  If the white fuzzy stuff is on the new growth, I wouldn't worry about it. It's produced with the new 'candle growth.' If it's on the old growth, I would spray it with Insecticidal Soap or Horticultural Oil as it could be Mealybug. Both of these insecticides are organic controls.
    • Also, I'd take a sample to your favorite garden center and get a second opinion from a nursery professional.
  • Pine trees used as living Christmas trees do not stay small. Depending on the species, they can reach a height of fifty to eighty feet. You can control the size by trimming the 'candle growth.'
  • The 'candle growth' is the long, upright shoots now visible. It extends above the mature needles. With a pair of hand shears, cut the new growth off where the new growth meets the old. Sealing these cuts is unnecessary as pine trees produce their own natural sealant.
  • Transplanting into a larger container will work for a while, but eventually, your tree will need to be planted in the ground.