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Since the invasion of the Ash Borer, the MN DNR encourages people to not prune anything until after Labor Day.

BRANCHES NEAR ELECTRICAL WIRES:
Do not attempt to remove these. Call the utility and report the dangerous situation.

TOOLS FOR PRUNING:
Shears, hand pruning saw, pole saw. Do not use a chain saw for pruning.

Rose Hart's
OUTSIDE
PRUNING feng shui

It is mid- summer and we'll limit pruning in our feng shui garden to harvesting the ripe fruits and vegetables. Pruning forces plants to spend their energy healing the cuts, and that leaves them vulnerable to disease and infestation. We prune plants for several reasons, the most common objective in an urban area being to control a woody hedge, especially those close to the house.

After the first spring growth, hedge pruning should be no more than one inch or less of the last cut, and pruning is limited to mid- July and early September. Furthermore, by shaping the hedge in a pyramid, rather than the common flat- top, will encourage plant health. The pyramid shape allows sunlight to reach the lower branches and avoids a woody, leafless shrub base. A special regard for evergreen hedges is not to cut below green growth, as doing so will have fatal results.

The rhyme "Don't prune in May or June" is a good rule of thumb for both trees and hedges. In an urban area, typically trees are pruned to remove diseased, dead and dangerous branches. However, oak trees should not be pruned at all until they go dormant, because this prevents oak wilt being spread by beetle larvae. If oaks are injured in a storm, then a dressing should be applied to mask the fresh- cut odor, and latex paint can be used for this purpose. Apple trees are a special consideration, and these should not be pruned at all after late winter, usually February. When pruning any plant, leave at least one- fourth of the live foliage.

Rose bushes are in their own category, because often their blooms are cut to decorate our homes. In our feng shui garden we avoided the wild bramble of undersized, poor quality blooms and pruned dead canes and understory roots in early spring. Roses suffer a variety of genus-specific diseases. Therefore, The MN Rose Society recommends dipping the pruning shears in a 1:10 chlorine bleach- water solution before making each cut. Make the cut diagonal, one- fourth of an inch above an outward facing bud, with the high side of the cut on the bud side. Then it is also recommended to paint the ends of cut canes with white glue, nail polish or shellac to prevent damage from pith borers.

At mid- July we are halfway through our 140 day Zone 4 growing season, and the first crop of vegetables is ready for harvest. Sharp cutting tools will minimize injury to the plant, so it can spend more energy to create new fruit. For example, cutting basil stems as soon as they are ready allows for a second season's crop. Pick ripe cucumbers especially, because leaving them on the vine stops new fruit growth altogether, and many other types of vegetables become inedible when left on the vine. Radishes in particular will suffer this fate.

RESOURCES USED FOR THIS ARTICLE:
Woodland Stewardship, A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners. Melvin J. Baughman, Alvin A. Alm, A. Scott Reed, Thomas G. Eiber, Charles R, Blinn. Copyright 1993, MN Extension Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.
www.minnesotaRoseSociety.org
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG0628.html
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