Shrubs and Vines

How to Prune Lilacs

Lilacs grow so vigorously in the Pacific Northwest that they eventually become trees instead of shrubs. June is the time to prune lilacs. If you would like to turn your lilac back into a shrub, this is how to do it. There are 3 ways to accomplish it.
The drastic one year approach
Prune all [...]

Restoring Sheared Shrubs

Question: We recently moved into a home with established trees and shrubs. We love the landscape, but do not like the way the shrubs have been pruned. The previous owner used a power clipper to prune the shrubs. Their shapes are artificially thick and round or flat on top. Can they be pruned to give [...]

Mulches Reduce Weeds and Improve Plant Growth

One of the best ways to reduce weeding is to apply mulch around trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The most popular mulch material is bark. Bark is available in three different size chunks and finer sizes called bark dust. Bark can be purchased in bags but is much cheaper in bulk. If you do [...]

How Big Will My Tree Grow?

I am continually amazed when trees which normally grow 50 feet or taller are planted under power lines or other places where there is not room for them to grow to full height. Whenever a new tree or shrub is planted the label or some other source such as google should be consulted to find out [...]

Choosing Fertilizers

The best time to fertilize most permanent plants is March and April. Lawns also need a late summer or fall application.  I also fertilize anytime I plant new plants. Although there are many specialized fertilizers available, I use two types for almost all my outdoor plants. I use lawn fertilizer for my lawn, trees, and shrubs, and [...]

Pruning Shrubs

Unless you are trying to create a hedge, prune individual shrub branches one at a time. Prune down to a side branch an inch or more inside the shrub. If the branches are too thick, remove some branches all the way to where they start. Shorten upper branches more than lower branches so the shrub is tapered in [...]

Deep Wastering Is Best

Our seasonal dry period in the Pacific Northwest usually starts in June and we need to irrigate to keep plants green and growing. Automatic sprinkler systems are often set to water a few minutes every day. This only keeps the soil surface moist, encourages weed seed germination and does not reach the deeper roots. At least one half [...]

Leaf Diseases on Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Our moist climate is ideal for fungus diseases on trees and other landscape plants. Cherry, Dogwood, Rose, and  Photinia are particularly susceptible to leaf diseases such as anthracnose, mildew, black spot, or shot hole, during the spring and early summer. If you have plants which have been severely infected by one of these diseases in [...]