Carol Link’s Monthly Gardening Tips


Q: Daffodils grow in several flower beds in my landscape. At what time of year should they be divided and replanted? They are really overcrowded.

A: The daffodil foliage dried up and died and the bulbs were fed to promote flowering for the next year. Now is the right time to divide them. Be careful when digging them up. Try not to cut the bulbs with your shovel. After dividing a clump, separate the bulbs and discard any that appear sick or injured. Plant them immediately.

Q: Is it too late in the season to fertilize my azaleas?

A: Azaleas should not be fertilized this late in the season. Ideally, the shrubs should be fertilized immediately after flowering ends in the spring. During a growing season like this year, when there is a lot of rainfall, you can fertilize the shrubs a second time, but the recommendation is never to fertilize after August 1.

Q: Should I prune my blueberries now or should I wait until the end of winter? Last winter when I pruned I removed a lot of blueberry flowers because I waited so late. We lost fruit due to pruning at this time.

A: Blueberry plants should be pruned at the end of winter. At this time, the branches are more visible, which makes pruning easier. Plus, pruning when the plant is dormant causes less strain on the plant. Removing a few flowers will remove some of the fruit, but the remaining fruit should be larger due to the removal.

Q: One of my pancake myrtles has two large broken limbs. Is it okay to go ahead and prune the tree now, or do I have to wait until winter?

A: Anytime a tree or shrub has dead, damaged or diseased wood, the branches should be removed. I would wait to perform a full pruning until the tree was dormant.

Q: My roses look really bad because I wasn’t feeling well in the spring and they haven’t been pruned this year. Would it damage them if I pruned them now?

A: You are right. Your roses should have been pruned in late winter or early spring. But since they are most likely in a sorry state, they may be pruned slightly now. Don’t overdo the size.

Carol (Bonnie) Link is a Master Gardener in Etowah County and a seasoned garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening efforts. Send your questions or comments to [email protected]


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