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Camellia Pruning

    Date Posted: Thu, Mar 02 - 4:57 pm


  • We have a camelia bush in our front yard that is as old as our house. It’s probably 25 ft wide at its widest. It’s in desperate need of a trim, but I have no idea how to do that! I don’t want To harm the bush at all, but I know it needs to be trimmed. I can provide pictures if helpful!
  • Answer

  • Hello there, so you have a very happy camellia on your hands. I'm going to guess it's a japanese camellia, flowering from mid-winter to early spring. The other popular variety is camellia sasanqua, which flowers in late summer, fall or early winter (depending on selection) and is generally smaller and looser than the japanese varieties. Either way you want to wait until after the plant blooms to prune (otherwise you'll miss the bloom period). Of course, if that isn't you uppermost concern and you just want to get it under control, then anytime can work. I'm attaching an article from Southern Living magazine that describes a pruning method I think will work for you. The method basically treats the shrub as a tree which would decrease your time and effort of trying to prune such a large plant back to shrub proportions. Here is the article. The last paragraph is the key. As always use sharp clean pruners and pruning saws so disease isn't transferred to the new cuts you'll be making. Good luck and happy gardening!

Mulberry debris

    Date Posted: Tue, Jun 22 - 4:11 pm


  • A neighboring mulberry tree drops berries into my small patio/mulch bordered backyard. We sweep the berries off of the patio daily but are not able to effectively clean the mulch area where the berries fall. I've noticed an uptick in bugs, birds, weeds/growth/sprouts, etc. in the mulch. 1) Should I work harder to clear the mulch area of these berries or is it okay to let them fall and naturally "decay" in the mulch? 2) What would be the best groundcover (mulch, dirt, stones, etc.) to be under a mulberry tree constantly dropping berries?
  • Answer

  • Hello there, As you know mulberry trees are prolific berry producers. I don't see any reason not to let the berries compost into your mulch. However, it would be a good practice to hoe the mulch every now and then to prevent the berries from growing into trees. Also, they will still attract the birds and bugs that you've mentioned so that may not be a satisfying practice for you. One option would be to change the mulched area to tightly laid pavers. Then you could sweep that at the same time you sweep your patio. I suggest tightly laid because any open ground will provide a hospitable place for the mulberries to sprout. They are determined plants. Another option would be to have a polite conversation with the owner of the tree requesting that the overhanging limbs on your property be trimmed. If the tree is properly pruned, the offending branches on your property would be removed and the rest of the tree should be pruned for balance. You may want to bring this to the owner's attention to ensure a correct pruning job and to make sure all parties are happy with the results and the tree is properly preserved. Hope the helps!! Let us know if you have further questions.