Don’t murder the crape myrtles when pruning

Q: It pains me to see so many crape myrtles chopped down to ugly stubs. I see it everywhere, with properly pruned myrtles almost outnumbered by crape “murdered” trees. Will you provide pruning advice?
Betty Pritchett, Houston
A: The annual “crape myrtle murder” discussion has begun, so here are guidelines to prune these low-maintenance flowering trees.
Crapes do not need to be pruned to bloom. However, a tree can benefit from late-winter pruning to remove dead, weak or crossing branches and suckers at the base. But avoid mutilation.
Trim to maintain or restore a natural shape. Remove branches 2 inches or less in diameter, if necessary. Don’t top the trees. …read more

Via: Gardening

    

Pocket-size seed packets speak volumes to gardeners

A seed packet may be small, but it speaks volumes.
While seed catalogs promote thousands of types of plants, seed packets tell gardeners how to grow one. All the information is printed on the back of a paper pouch slightly larger than the size of your wallet, and at prices that won’t empty it.
Although the cost of seeds has risen over the past few years, they’re still an economical way to garden, said Elsa Sanchez, a commercial vegetable crops specialist at Penn State University Extension.
“The other option would be to buy transplants, which is generally more expensive,” Sanchez said. “You also find a lot more options for types and cultivars when you start from seed. …read more

Via: Gardening