Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Upcoming meetings!

Just to give you a heads-up: The speaker for February (Feb. 12th) is Christine Allen (our club president and master gardener) talking about climbing plants.
For March (March 12th), it will be another master gardener, Mike Nassichuk, talking about vegetable gardening and mason bees.
We meet the second Tuesday of the month at the hall previously known as Astorino's (Venables at Commercial!)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Notes from our January meeting on Pruning...

At our Grandview Garden Club meeting last week, Mary Dunn, a member of the South Surrey Garden Club and Master Gardener, was our special speaker, and her topic was Pruning!

I took a few notes and thought I’d share some of her tips with you.


4 Reasons to Prune (and in this order):
  • for the health of the plant — you improve air circulation and keep the plant open
  • to improve the beauty of the plant
  • to stimulate vigorous growth
  • to control the plant’s size

There are two kinds of pruning cuts:
  • Heading cuts
  • Thinning cuts

Heading cuts:
Heading cuts remove the apical bud (growth tip), which is a source of auxins. This stimulates lots of growth of lateral shoots.
You can do heading cuts, like with a hedge trimmer, on plants that have many close-together branches like lavender, thyme, rosemary, boxwood; they can all be sheared off.

Thinning cuts:
With thinning cuts, either remove an entire branch or stem or cut down to one that’s at least a third of the diameter of the one you’re taking off.

What do you take off?
The three Ds
  • Dead material
  • Damaged or dying material
  • Diseased

The two Cs
  • Crossing branches
  • Competing branches

She advocates the maxim: “Wander, Ponder, then Prune”
Spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to take off before you go to work.
Never leave stubs!

When to prune what:
  • Early spring bloomers, prune after they bloom.
  • Summer bloomers, prune when dormant (like now!)
Remember that the buds are on the new growth.

Keep your pruning equipment (loppers, secateurs) clean and sharp and well-oiled. Lee Valley has a good little hand sharpener; just 4 or 5 strokes should sharpen your secateurs. Sharpen between uses; sterilize (with bleach or Lysol®) between cuts, especially if you’re working on diseased or problem plants.

Remember: Pruning Stimulates Growth!

Mary recommended a few pruning reference books (see next posting). She says the Sunset Pruning Book is especially good (but is now out of print). Pruning and Training, published by the Royal Horticultural Society, is her favourite. She calls that one “the bible”.

Mary also teaches classes in pruning and she has sent along dates and registration info:

Langley Continuing Education
  • Pruning the Right Way H127 $49.99 + $5 entry to Darts Hill.  Saturday, January 31, 9:30am-3:30pm. Afternoon field trip to Darts Hill Garden in South Surrey.

Historic Stewart Farm (South Surrey) — Classes at the Historic Stewart Farm can be accessed on the City of Surrey website, the Langley Class on the Langley Continuing Education website.
  • Pruning Essentials  4386921  $40.  Saturday, March 7, 9:30am-3:30pm.  Afternoon field trip to Darts Hill Garden in South Surrey.
  • Fruit Tree Pruning  4386962  $40.  Saturday, February 14, 9:30am- 3:30pm.  Morning in the classroom, afternoon hands-on in the Heritage Orchard.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mary Dunn's List of Pruning References

Mary Dunn, who spoke at our January meeting, sent along this list of useful references for pruning.


Pruning - Sunset Books Inc. 1998 ISBN 0-376-03606-0 (out of print, but you may find it) 

Sunset Western Garden Book - Sunset Publishing Corp. 2012 

The Royal Horticultural Society Pruning and Training – Dorling Kindersley Ltd. 
ISBN 0 7513 0207 4 

The Flowering Shrub Expert - Dr. D.G. Hessayon, - Expert Books ISBN 0 903505 39 B 

The Tree and Shrub Expert - Dr D.G. Hessayon – Expert Books ISBN 0 903505 17 7 

The Pruning of Trees Shrubs and Conifers - George E. Brown. Revised and expanded by Tony Kirkham Timber Press 2009 ISBN-13: 978-1-60469-002-6 

Trees and Shrubs for Coastal British Columbia J.A. and C.L. Grant Whitecap Books 
1990 ISBN 0 921061 83 8 

Pruning and Training of Plants – David Joyce – Firefly Books ISBN 1-55297-534-7 

A Practical Guide to Pruning – Peter McHoy – Select Editions ISBN 1-894722-00-0 

Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning – 3rd Revised Edition - Sasquatch Books 2012

Product Details


These will provide links to many other websites of interest. 
Also see University Extension Department websites (U. of Washington, Oregon, UBC) 

Not about pruning, but excellent references for the home gardener: 

Home and Garden Pest Management Guide for British Columbia 2009 Edition 
Website: (The guide can be ordered on the website) 
(There is lots of useful information on this website.) 

West Coast Gardening: Natural Insect, Weed & Disease Control – 2nd edition 2013 - 
Linda A. Gilkeson ISBN 978-0-9917335-0-7 

Revised February 2014