Gardening for You To prune or to not prune


Ellen Peffley
| Lubbock Avalanche Journal

It is pruning time for many trees and shrubs, but not every tree or shrub should be pruned during the rest period. Today’s column includes practices for rest and summer pruning.

Crop at rest::

• oak. In the middle of winter, it’s time to prune oak trees. The main consideration when pruning oak is to avoid getting oak withered fungus. Insects are the main vectors of the fungus, so incision cuts should be made when insect activity is low. Complete pruning of the oaks by early February. Trim cut cuts with sealer to prevent insects from entering wounds.

• Crepe myrtles. Not upwards, but remove unwanted branches and shoots that grow inside. Seed pods can remain in place all winter. Cutting off seed pods at the beginning of spring promotes vegetative growth. Remove the pods at the base of the pods.

• Lawn trees and summer-flowering shrubs and vines. Pruning to maintain natural growth habit by eliminating spindle-shaped internal growth, water shoots (strong upright shoots created by above-ground growth), suction cups (upright shoots created from the root base), and parallel branches.

• fruit trees. The dormant cut occurs when branches and limbs are visible and before the buds peel off. Prune to promote a strong framework, increase light transmission, optimize fruit set and support fruit development. Pruning while at rest allows wounds to heal before trees become physiologically active.

• roses. These are some of the last plants to be pruned, usually in March but before new growth resumes.

• Conifers. Little is required to maintain the natural growth habit. Unwanted branches should be removed individually and completely back to the origin.

Summer plum after flowering:

• Spring blooming trees and bushes. Forsythia, quince, spirea, syringa, viburnum and other spring-flowering ornamental landscape specimens should not be pruned when at rest. Wait until after flowering. Blossom wood of this type is produced in the previous summer and autumn months; This means that in the spring of 2020, flowers were formed in the spring of 2021. Pruning will now get rid of these flowers.

Questions and Answers on Flicker (Jan 13th Column)

It seems that Northern Flickers are considered a nuisance bird. Lubbock AJ reader Mary S. from Tijeras, New Mexico, writes that her flickering is a red shaft flicker, the wings of which are bright orange in flight. The problem is that they love the taste of stucco and therefore do quite a bit of damage to the exterior of houses. Colorado State Extension reports that Northern Flickers are responsible for most of the woodpecker damage to homes in Colorado, causing property damage by drilling holes in wood and synthetic stucco siding and eaves. They are annoying when they pound or “drum” on houses to create territories, and once established they cannot be easily evicted ( Scare them away with mirrors or, like Mary S., pound the inside walls when she hears them pounding outside.

Ellen Peffley taught college horticulture for 28 years, 25 of them at Texas Tech. During this time she developed two types of onions. She is now the sole owner of From the Garden, a gardening farmette. You can email her at