The Q&A Archives: Pruning Season

Question: When is the best time to cut back/prune privets and also crape myrtle trees?
I would also like to know if there is any way to boost the growth of fire power nandinas? The ones I have, seem to be struggling a little.

Answer: Privets in need of rejuvenation can be cut back very hard in late winter to very early spring. Simple pruning can be done as needed throughout the season, with early spring being a good time to start.

Crepe myrtles bloom on new growth of the season so they are best pruned only in the early spring.

Nandinas are not terribly demanding plants, if their growth seems sparse it is often due to lack of light or possibly competing tree roots. The put out their best growth in the spring, and if they are new plants it may take them a year or two to settle in.

It is best to base fertilization on the results of soil tests, however an application of compost spring and fall is usually beneficial, as is maintaining a year round mulch several inches thick. These will both help feed the soil as they break down over time. It is better to underfertilize than overfeed, but if you feel the soil is poor, you could also use a granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 applied to the soil around the plant in early spring according to the label instructions.

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