Home and garden Q&A: Pruning and planting

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 13, 2019


By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post

Cold rains can be a real inconvenience during the holiday season but they’re necessary for our lawns and landscapes. Many have questions relating to plants and the upcoming holiday season along with other landscape questions. Below are a few questions posed to me over the past few weeks.

Question: My wife wants me to prune our grape vines and use the vines to make a wreath and Christmas decorations. I don’t think this is the right time to prune. Can I prune my vines now and not injure them for the upcoming season?

Answer: Lightly pruning grape vines now will not injure them. However, heavy pruning as a normal cultural practice for grape production is usually recommended for late February and March.

Question: My friend from church gave me some paperwhites narcissus and the bulbs are almost in full bloom. Can I save the bulbs and plant them after they have bloomed outdoors in our landscape with our daffodils and tulips?

Answer: Sorry, but no you can’t plant them. These bulbs are native to the Mediterranean and are cold tender, unable to survive our winter temperatures, so it’s best to discard them when the flowers are spent.

Question: Is there a place in Salisbury I can take my Christmas tree after the holidays?

Answer: Rowan County’s Department of Environmental Management offers free Christmas tree collection and disposal at the Julian Road Solid Waste and Recycling convenience center during the month of January. The Julian Road Solid Waste Recycling Center is located at 1455 Julian Road, near the Rowan County Fairgrounds in Salisbury. Their hours of operation are Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Contact Caleb Sinclair at 704-216-8589 for more detailed information.

Question: My neighbor has some beautiful evergreen shrubs as a hedge loaded with small dark blue or purple berries. They are very pretty, and I was wondering what type of shrub this may be?

Answer: These are berries from Ligustrum sp., or Japanese privet. These evergreen shrubs that may reach tree form up to 30 feet in height. Ligustrums have small, white and fragrant flowers which appear in April to June producing fruit which are very plentiful during late summer and fall. These fruits are consumed by birds and other wildlife. The evergreens make good hedges, especially newer cultivars. However, most of the older cultivars can be rather invasive and easily spread by wildlife. Go to https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/ligustrum-japonicum/for more detailed information on the cultivars of this shrub for hedges.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

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