Question:I'd like to prune off a four-inch diameter branch from my plum tree to make room for a shed. Is it okay to do so at this time?
- Not only is it okay to remove a single limb, but you can also go ahead and prune the entire plum tree along with apricot and cherry trees.
- Traditionally, gardeners wait until January and February to prune; however, things are changing. There is a lot of literature supporting the pruning of fruit trees in the late summer and fall. The exception would be those varieties that still have a maturing crop.
- Fall is an excellent time to prune as the fruit trees are in the beginning stages of dormancy. By definition, dormancy begins when a tree has stopped actively growing. We haven't seen any new growth for some time, nor do we expect to see any shortly, and leaf drop is about to begin.
- One of the most significant non-horticultural disadvantages of pruning now is that it's more challenging to identify what needs to be prune and kept, as the foliage gets in the way. This is offset by the cold, damp, and muddy conditions during the winter months.
- It's now desirable to prune them with apricots in the fall, as pruning during the rainy season has been problematic.
- They've been prone to an air-borne disease that enters through the fresh wounds but doesn't show up until the following season, around June. Unfortunately, we have no treatment for this disease. Once the wound(s) calluses over, it's no longer a threat. The callusing takes a couple of days to occur. Thus pruning in the fall is an ideal time to avoid the problem altogether.
- Also, discontinue watering deciduous fruit trees, as there is no need for any additional moisture now. The excess moisture, along with our poor draining clay soil, promotes problems with root rot.
- Root rot is not apparent now but shows up the following spring. As the tree leaf out, there will be bare twigs, stems, and branches in varying sizes. It would not be uncommon for the tree sections to collapse with the first heat spell and die. These are all indicators of root rot damage.
Question:I recently bought several blooming Vinca plants. On the containers, it said they grow in full sun and don't overwater. However, when I looked it up in my gardening book, I got a conflicting story. Here it says they do best in the shade and like moisture. I'm now baffled; can you help me figure this out?
- There are several different types of plants called Vinca. You purchased the summer annual know as Vinca rosea. It likes the sun and a minimal amount of water. Its botanical name is Caltharanthus roseus. The other Vinca is Vinca major or minor, also known as Periwinkle. It's a perennial ground cover planted in moist semi-shady areas.