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Bonnie L. Appleton

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
24 Ways to Kill a Tree Apr 8, 2015 430-210 (HORT-112P)
A Guide to Successful Pruning, Decidous Tree Pruning Calendar
Deciduous Tree Pruning CalendarLegend:
* = Best time to prune
x = Do not prune except to correct damage, hazards, or structural defects
- = Timing is not critical

  1. Seldom needs pruning - remove multiple leaders, dead and broken branches

  2. Avoid pruning in late winter/early spring due to sap flow (more cosmetic than detrimental)
  3. Avoid pruning from spring through summer due to insect or disease problems
  4. Avoid pruning from October - December due to reduced cold hardiness
  5. Avoid pruning after July because flower buds have set
May 1, 2009 430-460
A Guide to Successful Pruning, Evergreen Tree Pruning Calendar
* = Best time to prune
x = Do not prune except to correct damage, hazards, or structural defects
- = Timing is not critical


  1. Seldom needs pruning - remove multiple leaders, dead and broken branches
  2. Don't prune into old wood having no leaves or needles
  3. Prune during growing season to make more compact or dense
  4. To avoid reducing berry production, don't prune during bloom period
  5. Prune to prevent oak wilt infection
  6. Prune to remove cankers
  7. Flower buds set on previous season (old) wood; winter pruning will reduce spring flowering
May 1, 2009 430-461
A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Deciduous Trees

Trees that shed their leaves annually are classified as deciduous. Before getting out your hand pruners, learn some basics about the anatomy, or supporting framework, of a deciduous tree.

The above-ground part of a tree consists of the trunk, scaffold branches, and lateral branches. The leader is the vertical stem at the top of the trunk. Scaffold branches are primary limbs that form a tree's canopy. Secondary branches that emerge from scaffold branches are laterals. Growth comes from buds at the tips of branches (terminal buds), or along branch sides (lateral buds).

May 1, 2009 430-456
A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Evergreen Trees

Evergreen trees have leaves that persist year round, and include most conifers and some broad-leaved trees. Evergreen trees generally need less pruning than deciduous trees.

Conifers are distinguished from other plants by their needle or scale-like leaves, and their seed-bearing cones. Because conifers have dominant leaders, young trees rarely require training-type pruning. The leader is the vertical stem at the top of the trunk. If a young tree has two leaders, prune one out to prevent multiple leader development. Selective branch removal is generally unnecessary as evergreens tend to have wide angles of attachment to the trunk.

May 1, 2009 430-457
A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Shrubs

Understanding the natural "habit" or shape of shrubs will help you determine how to prune them. All shoots grow outward from their tips. Whenever tips are removed, lower buds are stimulated to grow. Buds are located at nodes, where leaves are attached to twigs and branches. Each node produces from one to three buds, depending on shrub species.

May 1, 2009 430-459
A Guide to Successful Pruning, Shrub Pruning Calendar May 1, 2009 430-462
A Guide to Successful Pruning: Pruning Basics and Tools

Pruning is a regular part of plant maintenance involving the selective removal of specific plant parts. Although shoots and branches are the main targets for removal, roots, flower buds, fruits and seed pods may also be pruned.

Pruning wounds plants, but plants respond differently to wounding than do animals. In plants, damaged areas are covered by callus tissue to close wounds. Simply put: animal wounds heal, plant wounds seal.

May 1, 2009 430-455
A Guide to Successful Pruning: Stop Topping Trees!

Topping occurs when the vertical stem (leader) and upper primary limbs (scaffold branches) on mature trees are cut back to stubs at uniform height. Topping is also referred to as heading, stubbing, or dehorning.

May 1, 2009 430-458
America's Anniversary Garden: A Statewide Corridor and Entrance Enhancement Program

In 2007, Virginia will mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the first English settlement in the Americas. The 18-month-long commemoration begins in May 2006 and will feature educational programs, cultural events, fairs, and various live and broadcast entertainments sponsored by Virginia and cities and towns across the commonwealth. See the America's 400th Anniversary website at www.americasanniversary.com for information about this salute to America's birthplace.

Jul 23, 2015 426-211 (HORT-186P)
America's Anniversary Garden: Red, White, and Blue in Fall and Winter Gardens

Virginia Cooperative Extension developed the America’s Anniversary Garden to help individuals, communities, and groups commemorate America’s 400th anniversary with a signature landscape or garden. These signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Other VCE garden design, plant selection, plant installation, and maintenance publications for patriotic gardens are listed in the Resources section .

Apr 10, 2015 426-228(HORT-164P)
Fertilizing Landscape Trees and Shrubs

Maintenance programs should be developed for trees and shrubs in both residential and commercial landscapes. A good maintenance program includes monitoring and controlling insect and disease problems, suppressing weed competition, and making timely applications of water, mulch, and fertilizer.

Tree and shrub fertilization is especially important in urban and suburban areas of Virginia where soils have been altered due to construction. These urban soils tend to be heavily compacted, poorly aerated, poorly drained, and low in organic matter. Even where soils have not been affected, fertilization may be needed as part of a maintenance program to increase plant vigor or to improve root or top growth.

Apr 9, 2015 430-018 (HORT-120P)
Gardening & Your Health, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Gardening with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be very difficult, especially when a long day of shoveling, raking, or weed pulling leaves you with a painful or “tingling” hand or wrist. These aches and pains are often caused in part by improper techniques or tools used in gardening.

Mar 19, 2015 426-060(HORT-131P)
Gardening and Your Health: Protecting Your Hands and Feet
The skin on hands and feet is like most ornamental plants. Neither likes the extremes of being dried out or kept too wet. Treat skin as tenderly as the most sensitive plants and safeguard your horticultural health.
Apr 29, 2015 426-061 (HORT-135P)
Gardening and Your Health: Sunburn & Skin Cancer

Most people have suffered from at least one bad sunburn. The beginning of a sunburn is shown by hot, pink skin. Later comes swelling, burning pain, and possibly blistering. As the burn leaves, peeling inevitably appears. Peeling means that the skin is thickening up to protect itself from further sun damage. If burned skin continues to get exposed to sun, damage can’t be repaired. Even if damage is not visible, skin cells mutate with each sun exposure. Over a lifetime these mutations may add up to cancer, a problem seen on gardeners who work unprotected in the sun. A severe sunburn is one of the biggest risk factors in getting a melanoma skin cancer.

Mar 18, 2015 426-063 (HORT-133P)
Getting Started in the Nursery Business: Nursery Production Options Apr 27, 2015 430-050 (HORT-89P)
Groundwater Quality and the Use of Lawn and Garden Chemicals by Homeowners

The people of Virginia use nearly 400 million gallons of groundwater each day to meet industrial, agricultural, public, and private water demands. One-third of Virginia's citizens rely on groundwater as their primary source of fresh drinking water, and 80 percent of Virginians use groundwater to supply some or all of their daily water needs. Groundwater is an important resource, but it is a hidden one and, therefore, is often forgotten. In fact, until recent incidents of groundwater contamination, little attention was paid to the need to protect Virginia's groundwater.

May 1, 2009 426-059
Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons Mar 30, 2015 426-602 (HORT-103P)
Managing Winter Injury to Trees and Shrubs

It is often necessary to provide extra attention to plants in the fall to help them over-winter and start spring in peak condition. Understanding certain principles and cultural practices will significantly reduce winter damage that can be divided into three categories: desiccation, freezing, and breakage.

Apr 9, 2015 426-500 (HORT-121P)
Patriotic Gardens: Bulbs for a Red, White, and Blue Spring Garden

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) developed the America’s Anniversary Garden™ to help individuals, communities, and groups commemorate America’s 400th Anniversary with a signature landscape or garden. These signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Although the commemoration has passed, this guide continues to be useful for creating a patriotic garden. This is the third in a series of VCE garden design, plant selection, plant installation, and maintenance publications for America’s Anniversary Garden™.

Apr 9, 2015 426-220(HORT-163P)
Patriotic Gardens: How to Plant a Red, White and Blue Garden

Virginia Cooperative Extension developed the America’s Anniversary Garden in 2007 to help individuals, communities, and groups mark America’s 400th Anniversary with a signature garden planting. The signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Although the commemoration has passed, this guide continues to be a useful guide for creating a patriotic garden. This publication is the first in a series of Virginia Cooperative Extension publications and support materials to guide gardeners - new and experienced - in developing their own patriotic gardens. 

Jul 17, 2015 426-210 (HORT-185)
Patriotic Gardens: Red, White, and Blue Native Plants

In 2007, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) developed the America’s Anniversary Garden to help individuals, communities, and groups commemorate America’s 400th Anniversary with a signature landscape, garden, or container planting. These signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Although the commemoration has passed, this guide continues to be useful for creating a patriotic garden.

Jan 14, 2015 426-223 (HORT-86P)
Pruning Crapemyrtles

One of Virginia’s most popular yet mistreated landscape plants is the beautiful crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica, L. fauriei, and L. indica with L. fauriei or L. speciosa hybrids ). Selected and prized for their long summer bloom period (often called the "plant of the 100 day bloom"), cultivars have a range of flower colors, with an interesting seed head following the flower. In addition, crapemrytles have lustrous green leaves that change to bright fall colors, subtle to stunning multicolored bark, and unique winter architecture that makes this plant exceed most landscape choices for four-season interest and appeal.

May 1, 2009 430-451
Selecting Landscape Plants: Broad-Leaved Evergreens Apr 3, 2015 426-607 (HORT-105P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Conifers Apr 6, 2015 426-605 (HORT-108P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Flowering Trees

In the home landscape, flowering trees are secondary in importance to shade trees. The basic elements of framing, background, and shading are provided by shade trees, while flowering trees provide showy and unusual features with their floral beauty and seasonal interest. In addition, many flowering trees have colorful or interesting fruits which may be edible or attractive to birds.

May 1, 2009 426-611
Selecting Landscape Plants: Rare and Unusual Trees

There are many tree species that can be successfully grown in Virginia, but are rarely seen in our landscapes. Although not ordinarily recommended or readily available, these trees may be useful to carry out a specific landscape theme, to substitute for an exotic type which is not locally adapted, or may be prized for unusual form, flowers, fruits, bark, or foliage.

Jun 18, 2015 426-604(HORT-107P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees Apr 1, 2015 426-610 (HORT-104P)
Selection and Use of Mulches and Landscape Fabrics

The term “mulch” refers to materials spread or left on the soil surface as protective layers, whether organic or inorganic, loose particles or sheets.

Mar 20, 2015 430-019 (HORT-132P)
Soil Test Note 20: Home Shrubs and Trees May 1, 2009 452-720
Tree and Shrub Planting Guidelines Mar 3, 2015 430-295 (HORT-106P)
Trees and Shrubs for Acid Soils

The trees and shrubs on your new home site are growing poorly, so you take samples to the Extension office and the agent suggests a soil test. Test results show that your soil has a pH of 4.5, which is rated as strongly acid. The agent suggests you either take corrective action to raise the pH or grow different plants.

Apr 8, 2015 430-027 (HORT-115P)
Trees and Shrubs that Tolerate Saline Soils and Salt Spray Drift Apr 8, 2015 430-031 (HORT-111P)
Trees for Parking Lots and Paved Areas

Parking lots and paved areas are essential urban features that tend to be unsightly in their basic form. Municipal ordinances often mandate specific amounts of parking for different types of commercial or residential land use, as well as landscaping for these parking areas. Landscaping in and around parking lots and pavement improves appearance, prevents soil erosion, and reduces carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Planted areas also reduce storm water drainage problems, reduce the detrimental effects of wind and noise, and enhance human comfort by providing heat-reducing shade.

May 1, 2009 430-028
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites -- Air Pollution

Conditions in urban environments place trees under numerous stresses including compacted soil, soil moisture extremes, and reduced soil fertility. Polluted air is another stress that contributes to the decline of urban trees. Air pollution may cause short-term (acute) damage, which is immediately visible, and long-term (chronic) damage, which can lead to gradual tree decline. Long-term damage may predispose trees to other disorders, making diagnosis difficult.

Apr 8, 2015 430-022 (HORT-123P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites -- The Walnut Tree: Allelopathic Effects and Tolerant Plants

Walnut is the common name given to twenty species of deciduous trees in the genus Juglans, of which six species are native to the United States. The black walnut, Juglans nigra, which is native to Virginia, grows from Maine west to southern Michigan and south to Texas and Georgia.

Apr 10, 2015 430-021(HORT-113P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Screening

Using trees as living screens can easily enhance living and working spaces. Before selecting trees for screening, first determine the screen's purpose, whether functional or environmental. Screening can be used to define an area, modify or hide a view, create privacy, block wind, dust, salt and snow, control noise, filter light, and direct traffic flow.

Apr 9, 2015 430-025 (HORT-117P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Trees for Hot Sites

Hot landscape sites require special consideration before trees are planted. Trees can survive, and even thrive, in hot sites if the site is prepared correctly, if heat-tolerant species are selected, and if the trees are properly maintained. A variety of different locations and situations qualify as hot landscape sites.

Apr 9, 2015 430-024 (HORT-118P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Trees for Landscape Containers and Planters

Planting trees in aboveground containers and planters is becoming a common practice on sites that are not suited for inground planting. Containers differ from raised planters in that they are usually smaller in volume and moveable, whereas planters are generally larger, and often built as part of the permanent hardscape (paving, etc.). The greatest challenge in selecting trees for containers and planters is in choosing trees that can survive temperature extremes, and that can establish roots in a limited volume of substrate (potting soil). Consider several factors when selecting containers and trees including environmental influences, container and planter design, substrate type, and tree characteristics.

Apr 9, 2015 430-023 (HORT-119P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Wet and Dry Sites Apr 8, 2015 430-026 (HORT-114P)
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Alternative Ground Cover
Ground covers are low-growing plants that prevent weed establishment and act as a living mulch. Desirable ground covers compete minimally for nutrients, light, water or space. They require minimal maintenance and return organic matter and nutrients to the soil (Figure 1).

Three factors help determine whether changing an existing ground cover is justified. Ask yourself these questions:

May 1, 2009 430-466
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Holly Pollination and Honey Bees
Most hollies, whether deciduous or evergreen, require a male plant as a pollinator to insure fruit set. Though some hollies will set fruit in the absence of a male, the resulting berries will have sterile seeds.

English holly (Ilex aquifolium), American holly (I. opaca) and winterberry (I. verticillata) are holly species having male and female flowers borne on separate plants (dioecious). Female plants produce flowers without viable pollen, therefore, they are dependent upon male plants for pollination.

May 1, 2009 430-468
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Orchard Layout and Planting

If you decide to grow either evergreen or deciduous hollies and have selected a location, plan the physical layout of your orchard. After designing the layout and prior to purchasing plants, prepare your land by plowing/disking, incorporating recommended fertilizers, applying herbicides and/or establishing an alternative ground cover.

May 1, 2009 430-467
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Pest Management
Insects, diseases, animals and environmental conditions can all injure holly plants. Monitor your plants frequently, and when signs or symptoms appear, use a systematic approach to diagnosing plant disorders.

Chewing Insects

Holly leaf miners are chewing insects that feed on hollies, preferably American hollies. The larvae are small, yellow maggots that tunnel between upper and lower leaf surfaces. Their feeding creates light-colored, scribble-like patterns on affected leaves. Unsightly mines result in aesthetic damage
May 1, 2009 430-469
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Planning and Site Selection
There is no substitute for careful planning when dealing with a long-term crop such as cut holly. While evergreen hollies mature in ten to twelve years, deciduous hollies take only three to four years before producing berries. Initial plant size, plus cultural practices, will determine berry production time.

Consider many factors before deciding whether to grow cut holly. If you are willing to invest in land, equipment and labor for a crop that will take several years before harvest, ask yourself the following questions. Are you willing or able to:

May 1, 2009 430-465
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Pruning, Harvesting and Marketing
Brilliant red berries make evergreen and deciduous hollies desirable as Christmas greenery. Cut holly berries and evergreen leaves are cold tolerant and retain much of their shape and color even when partially dry.

Holly cultivars vary as to the age at which the first berried branches (sprays) will be ready to harvest. On average, evergreen hollies mature in ten to twelve years while deciduous hollies take only three to four years before producing berried sprays for harvest.

May 1, 2009 430-470
Virginia Cut Holly Production: Vegetation Control

Control of grass, weeds, and brush is an important cultural practice. Before planting a holly orchard, develop a weed control strategy that will ensure good plant growth at a minimal cost. Reasons for vegetation control include:

  • reduction of competition (for light, moisture, nutrients, and space) that may hinder holly growth
  • reduction of insect and disease damage
  • reduction of interference with equipment and labor movement
  • prevention of accidental damage to young trees
  • reduction of damage by animals (deer, voles, etc.)
  • improvement of orchard appearance for marketing purposes
May 1, 2009 430-471