Gardening Daily Tips July 23

Saturday July 23, 2011

Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)

Today’s Featured Plant
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Weeping Cherry Pruning

Question: Do you prune from the end of a branch or close to the trunk? I have found that pruning in the middle of a branch causes offshoots just above the cut that take awhile to turn down.

Answer: You’re right – wherever you prune, you can expect one or two new branches to develop. If you want to thin the canopy of your weeping cherry, take the branches completely off where it begins to grow at the trunk. If you want to thicken up the canopy, cut random branches back, to the point where you want two or more branches to develop. Many gardeners simply cut all of the hanging branches off at a certain point to make the bottom of the canopy easier to walk under. (It looks a little like an umbrella when you trim the tips of the branches in this manner.) Prune your tree to achieve the look you want. Best wishes with your weeping cherry.

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Q&A: Daylilies

Question: We are trying to grow daylilies from the seed pods. What is the best way to do this?

Answer: Daylily (Hemerocallis) has a prechill requirement before the seeds will germinate. Mix the seeds into some moistened seed starting mix and seal in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 6 weeks. Then remove the seeds and sow 1/8″ deep in trays or pots of moistened seed starting mix. Place in a warm area such as on top of the refrigerator or near a water heater. Seeds will germinate in 21-49 days when kept at 60F-70F degrees.

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Q&A: Pinching Back Zinnias

Question: Should I pinch back my zinnias when I transplant them outside? By “pinching back” I mean pinching off the top leaves of the transplant.

Answer: Pinching should begin early. You can start the process when the zinnia seedlings have developed their second or third set of true leaves. Remember, at each node (where the leaf stem or petiole meets the main stem), there is a bud. When you pinch off the growing point, you are removing hormones which suppress the growth of those lateral buds. Once the lateral buds start to grow and they produce a second set of leaves you can pinch those to encourage even more side growth! So pinch away! (You are wise to check, though–because some plants don’t respond well to pinching.)

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Tip: Plant Now for Fall Tomatoes in Southern Gardens

Most the tomatoes in Deep South gardens have pretty much quit setting fruit due to the hot days and nights. In fall there is another “window” of time where temperatures are right for fruit set. Now is the time to plant tomato transplants for the fall garden. If you wait until next month there won’t be time to set a good crop before the first frost ends the season.

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Tip: Vacation Container Care

If you’re going on vacation, water containers thoroughly and move them into a shady location that’s protected from wind, where they won’t dry out as fast. Mulch the soil surface with shredded bark. Have a neighbor check on them every few days.

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