SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

July 19, 2013

North Shore Gardener: Do your part to stop worst mosquito season in years

(Continued)

A: Yes, it may be the lack of fertilizer, but also the type used. Feed the plant with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. To make it easy for you and the plant, use a time-release, all-season fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer, like Osmocote. You may be able to make the flowers larger by the end of the summer, but you may have to wait until next year.

Q: I am writing to get some guidance on a pine needle Christmas tree (evergreen). The tree is part of the house and is very tall and getting bigger each year. It has already overtaken our hydrangea bush and is making the pathway between our holly bush and the Christmas tree smaller and smaller. Can we trim the branches? It is too tall, so we would not be able to reach the top. Or should we hire someone? And will the service of a landscaper be suitable? Your advice, suggestions and knowledge are greatly appreciated.

A: Yes, you could certainly try trimming the branches, but remember I said “trim.” You didn’t say what kind of evergreen, but almost all kinds of evergreens are bought for their beautiful shape. Keep that in mind — you don’t want to ruin it by over-pruning.

If the budget allows, a professional tree company could do the trimming, top to bottom, in less than an hour. Or, the most costly way to handle the tree would be to have a tree company dig and replant the tree, then replace it with another species. You’d have some guarantee on the work.

This week’s dirt: Do you have some plant cuttings sitting on the windowsill and just turning to mush? Some plant cuttings, like rosemary, are difficult to start. Try using a green glass container instead of clear glass. I think you’ll see a difference.

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North Shore Gardener by Barbara Barger of Beverly is a feature of Friday’s Lifestyles section. Reach Barbara by email at nsgardener@comcast.net or write to her c/o The Salem News, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915. Previous North Shore Gardener columns can be found at www.nsgardener.com.

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