A lot of people think pruning is so complicated that they could never master the first rule. It's not.
Here are a few easy rules that you can learn today:
1. Always prune flowering bushes right after they bloom.
2. Always prune odd-shaped, diseased, broken or dead limbs off when you see them.
3. Always prune with your feet on the ground; if the project is too high, hire an arborist.
4. Every year, prune some of the oldest stems on your bushes down to the ground.
5. If you wish to thin or reduce the size of a bush or tree, take whole branches or limbs out, back to the larger branch or to the ground. Do this several years in a row and the bush or tree will eventually be thinned or a smaller size.
6. Be careful to not cut off branches or limbs too close or the wound will not close properly. New research shows that wound paint is unnecessary.
7. Most evergreens cannot be pruned back to old wood as most will not make new growth from old wood. Only cut the current season's evergreen growth back.
8. Use proper tools and keep them sharpened to make clean cuts. Some books say to dip the tools in disinfectant after each cut.
There is, of course, lots more information about pruning, but these few rules provided by Jane Martin, OSU Extension agent for Franklin County will get you started. For goodness sakes, don't butcher your woody ornamentals by topping or chopping away at the branches. That makes them look terrible.
At the September Master Gardener meeting, intern Ken Trost demonstrated how to hook up projector and laptop computer to present a PowerPoint program. His instructions were as follows: with all equipment turned off, attach all the power cords, connect the projector to the laptop, plug everything in, then power up the computer first. After you have your PowerPoint program disk loaded and on the screen, then power up the projector. Once Trost had the program running, the group learned about pruning, using the PowerPoint program prepared by Martin.
If you have an interest in this pruning presentation or any other specific topic for your group, contact Rose Perry at (419) 465-2698. The Master Gardeners can present an interesting gardening-related talk for your next meeting.
* * *
The Master Gardener fall plant sale was very successful thanks to area gardeners who flocked to the fair grounds to buy up members' excess perennial plants. Besides plants, there were books, tools and raffles. Raffle Basket I, an assortment of plant care items, was won by Michelle Burger. Shannon Ditz won the second basket, a collection of Spa cosmetics; while Mae Mantey won the third, a Bird House Basket. Basket IV, full of fall treats, went to Diane Myer. Thanks to all for entering the contests.
The magazine, Fine Gardening, is now available through the Huron County Master Gardener website,www.ag.ohio-state.edu/'huro/ag/hcmga. By subscribing to this magazine through Huron County Master Gardeners, volunteer groups benefit throughout the state.
Huron County Master Gardeners are now manning a telephone hot line to answer questions about gardening. Members take turns carrying a dedicated cell phone, (419) 577-7101, to help gardeners every day. Call and ask your question and get the answer right away, or if the request needs research, your call will be returned. By emailing your question to firstname.lastname@example.org you can also get answers.
The Master Gardeners of Huron County present training to area gardeners who volunteer as garden teachers or garden speakers. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer; contact training coordinators, Lee and Carol Stephens, (419) 668-3528, to put your name on the new waiting list.
Peggy Case is a free-lance writer from New London. She can be reached via email at email@example.com. UPCOMING EVENTS
Here are some upcoming garden-activities, some of which are free and some that require a fee (those interested are encouraged to call ahead to find location, supplies needed and costs):
Kingwood Center Summer Visiting Hours; Gardens - 8 a.m. to 1/2 hour before sunset, daily. Greenhouse - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, except holidays.
Kingwood Hall; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays and holidays.
Birdfeeder Cleaning; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 6; Sandusky; (419) 626-5843.
Autumn Garden Walk; 1:30 to 3 p.m. Oct. 6; Mansfield; (419) 522-0211.
Summer Dulcimer Concert; 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 6; Mansfield; (419) 522-0211.
Sidewalk Chalk Fest; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13; Ashland; (419) 289-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dividing Peonies; 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 13; Mansfield; (419) 522-0211.
Planting Trees and Shrubs; 11 a.m. to 12 noon; Oct. 13; Mansfield; (419) 522-0211.