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Pruning questions

Posted by ellen_portland z8 OR (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 14, 12 at 11:45

Hi all,

My garden is getting a little overgrown. I have some questions on a few plants:

I have a decent sized lavender patch that needs to be cut back and refreshed- it is about 5-6 years old. I would like to prune it so the rock wall underneath is is visible again (everything has started to grow down and over) The plants bloomed late this summer, so I am just starting to enjoy them, but would like to know when is the right time to prune? Can I do it in October?

I have an Amethyst Hydrangea that has become very big and leggy in my front garden. I would like to trim it back so it is more compact. I believe I read that the blooms come on old wood and if you cut it all back you won't get any blooms the next year... but what if you need to resize/revitalize the plant?

Many of my roses (I am very new to growing)have become tall. When are you supposed to cut the bushes down short so they will branch out fuller for next season?

Last, but not least, I have a Kiwi plant that grows vigorously at the beginning of the summer, but this is the second year it all of a sudden starts dying back- frustrating- is this normal or do I just have problems with the established mole population in my yard?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pruning questions

Lavender should be trimmed back twice a year - once lightly after bloom season and harder in spring after new growth starts to emerge. Be sure not to cut back into bare wood. Lavenders tend to be relatively shortlived -- 5-6 years is considered a good life for them (commercial growers rotate their plants out on a 2-3 year cycle). If you have not routinely pruned these plants back before and they have started to develop a very woody interior, then I'd suggest replacing them next season.

You can certainly cut back your hydrangea hard next spring if you are willing to forego a flowering season. If not, you need to undertake a rejuvenation program, cutting back one third of the growth (oldest stems first) to the ground for a series of three years. This will result in a smaller overall size (temporarily), a rejuvenated plant with more crown stemming and still maintain a flowering period.

FWIW, ill-considered siting is a big problem with many hydrangeas. Most macs want to grow to 5-6' tall and as wide, if not wider, and do so rather quickly in our suitable climate. You may want to consider relocating the big shrub and replacing it with a more compact growing variety (Endless Summer, the Cityline series, 'Pia').

Roses are pruned in late winter.....right around the beginning of March. Hybrid teas and floribundas are usually pruned back hard -- 18-24" and with the 5 strongest canes remaining. Climbers and shrub roses are treated a bit differently.

Not sure what's up with the kiwi. Shouldn't have any midseason growing burps :-) Typically very robust and fast growing vines.


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RE: Pruning questions

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 15, 12 at 12:08

Endless Summmer is not a cultivar, it's a series. I think by now Bailey is using the term to market at least four different hydrangeas.


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RE: Pruning questions

Oh please, let's stop picking nits!! Everyone knows to which plant that term refers to. Bailey actually markets the hydrangea as Endless Summer The Original. FWIW, the entire Endless Summer series offers relatively compact plants compared to other popular selections.


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RE: Pruning questions

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 15, 12 at 18:52

And the cultivar is 'Bailmer'. The Endless Summer "collection" introduction I like is the one sold using the Twist 'n' Shout registered trademark. They gave it a gobbledygook cultivar name.


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RE: Pruning questions

Thanks so much!!!! ;-)


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