Frequently Asked Questions

Pruning depends on plant growth and blooming habit. In general, shrubs and trees which bloom during the winter and spring should be pruned immediately after they flower. This type of plant sets its flower buds in late summer, so do not prune after August. Shrubs which bloom during the summer and fall produce flowers on the current season’s growth. Therefore, the best time for pruning would be in late winter or very early spring before new growth starts to develop. Evergreen shrubs and trees which are grown primarily for their foliage may be pruned any time. Shrubs and trees which lose their leaves during the winter months may be pruned while bare of leaves.

Container-grown plants can be transplanted any time of the year. The critical factor is keeping the soil moist to prevent the root ball from drying out. To dig and move hardy plants that are growing in the landscape, it is best to wait until the dormant period between December and February. If the plant is considered tender to cold, it is best to delay planting or transplanting until after cold weather passes (March/April).

The most practical way for homeowners to protect their plants is to cover them. Cardboard boxes, blankets, newspapers, plastic, etc. can be used. The cover must extend all the way to the soil to trap the heat given off from the soil. Homeowners should not try to use sprinkler systems to protect plants. Home irrigation systems cannot apply enough water fast enough to do the job. Instead, more harm than good is usually done.

If you are pruning for improved shape and form, it is best to prune them in late winter (approximately mid-February) during their dormant period. Pruning too early in the dormant season can promote new growth which will be killed by the next freeze. It is also important to remember that crape myrtles should not be pruned hard regularly because it can cause excessive vegetative growth the basal sprouting.

This is an insect called Tea Scale – the worst pest on camellias. Oil sprays which suffocate the insects or systemic insecticides are recommended.

Yes, twist off all but the terminal bud within 8 inches on the end of the branch. Be sure the bloom buds are at least the size of a pea or they may regrow. This also reduces the chance of excessive blooms falling on the ground and spreading petal blight, a disease for which there is no easy cure.

NCA recommends bottlebrush, redbud, cypress, crape myrtle and magnolia, just to name a few.

The first consideration is the size of the palm. If it’s big enough to have delivered to your home, you would do well to pay the installation cost, which should guarantee the palm for one full year. Palms are difficult to plant in that they are extremely heavy. The hole must be prepared so that it is at least twice as deep and as wide as the container. The hole must then be filled with plenty of sand and organic matter to assure good drainage. The most imperative thing is that the palm must be planted at the exact depth it grew in the nursery. Properly planted, the roots will become established rapidly during the warm weather, so early summer is the best time to plant. However, most nurseries will readily plant palms at any time of the year.

Yes, you may start now (July or August) root pruning with a sharp spade inside the drip line. Do this in stages; about 25 percent of the circle every three to four weeks, until you have made a complete root ball. This will cause a new root system to start before you move the plant in January or early February.

Never transplant ornamental trees and shrubs any deeper than they were planted in the container. Dig the planting hole twice as large as the root ball, but no deeper. There is no benefit from back fill amendments, unless the entire planting bed is amended.